Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Stealth Onsite Basin Plan Update

A reminder, the RWQCB will be holding it's May 9th, 2008 meeting at the Aerovista St., SLOtown meeting room. Item 9 will cover the draft of the Stealth 2005=6 onsite basin plan updates. If you want to make public comment, be there or forever hold your peace.

Email from Sorrel Marks:

Attached please find Agenda Item 9 (Basin Plan Amendment regarding update of onsite criteria) for the May 9, 2008, Water Board meeting. The attached documents include Staff Report with response to comments, Supplemental Staff report with response to additional comments, Resolution R3-2008-0005, proposed updated Basin Plan criteria (onsite sections of Chapters 4 and 5), Environmental Document, and Notice of Public Hearing.

These documents are also available on our website at the link for Agenda Item 9 of the May 9, 2008 meeting.

If you would like us to send you paper copy of these documents, please call Sorrel Marks at 549-3695. Please forward this information to anyone you know to be interested in this matter.

Sincerely,Sorrel MarksS

anitary Engineering Associate
Central Coast Water Board985 Aerovista Place, Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
805/549-3695 (Sorrel's desk)
805/549-3147 (reception desk)
The Rock Is Loose! Run For Your Lives!

The following email from Ed Ochs, editor of The Rock:


The new issue of The Rock is out and also up on enhanced

This issue has several articles of vital interest to Los Osos. The two cover stories are curiously related, besides being about water and sewers. "Clear Damage: The Dire Condition of Morro Bay's Wastewater Collection System" is an indepth exposé of the Morro Bay/Cayucos system, which has been in neglect for years, leaking sewage into the soil and polluting groundwater. The story is documented with color stills of large cracks, misaligned pipe joints and sunken laterals. The MB/Cayucos Sanitary District recently raised sewer rates dramatically to pay for millions of dollars in major repairs. The RWQCB has been worried about pollution from Los Osos septics, worried enough to issue a building moratorium and CDOs. Is it possible that Morro Bay could wind up with a building moratorium like Los Osos? It will be very interesting to watch how they address the clearly documented leakage.

The second cover story, "March of 'The Reclamator'," documents 31 days in March in which Tom Murphy's Reclamator went from producing "snake oil" to clean water. On March 1 he installed a Reclamator in the front yard of the home he purchased in Bayridge Estates (which has its own community system, no septics), eliminating pollutants at the source--and the need for a County connection along with it. By March 31 the RWQCB and County were about to issue the Reclamator a permit to operate. The story features color photos of the installation from Day One to the celebratory raising of the first bottle of clear water. It should be noted that Marla Jo Bruton and Richard Sadowski, who initially exposed the condition of the Morro Bay/Cayucos system, have endorsed the Reclamator as a solution for both Los Osos and Morro Bay.

The Rock Report this month illuminates "Invasion of the Town Snatchers: The Ongoing Takeover of Los Osos, Morro Bay and Cayucos," which lays bare the roots of County corruption has that has allowed developers to infiltrate local government agencies to ensure development and even funnel public funds into projects that increase their profitability. This indepth piece exposes how some elected and appointed officials are more motivated by business interests than the welfare of citizens.

Also of prime interest to Los Osos is the story, "Regional Water Board Meets to Outlaw 'Smart,' Affordable Onsite Systems," which fits nicely into recent and ongoing commentary on your blog. Analysis by The Rock indicates that the RWQCB and County are shoring up the big-pipe bulwark for a megasewer in Los Osos by increasing their authority over onsite systems, that is, granting themselves the power to eliminate any and every onsite system as an alternative to the unaffordable megasewer--no matter how well it works or how many millions less it may cost.Also featured is a Q&A with Dr. John Alexander and Bo Cooper's latest column of oracular truth, "The County As People-Eater."

Finally, Rock Readers will find some much-needed relief in the painfully true-to-life spoofs, "County Seeks Thousands of Los Ososians for 'Vital Mission," "County Declares Sunset in Los Osos an 'Act of War'" and "Moon Falls on Taxpayers Watch."Oh yeah, this issue's back-page cartoons in "Political Sports" are controversial and contain images that are generally unsuitable for persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humor or rigid political beliefs.

And it's all now up on


Friday, April 25, 2008

Calhoun’s Can(n)ons, The Bay News, Tolosa Press, SLO, CA for April 24, 2008

Dear Sir!

Oh, but I do love letters to the editor. I suspect most people do. Next to the funnies, I think the favorite section of any paper is the Letters Section. As a columnist, I’m always heartened to see other people taking time to share their opinions. And, knowing the perils and pitfalls that lurk in the written word, I always welcome my fellow scribblers and extend to them wide latitude, great patience and sincere sympathy when they try their hand at public comment. I know first hand what a treacherous undertaking it always is – uncaught typos lurking to snare you, dangling participles and gerunds run amok, the unclear sentence leading you and the reader into the Bog of Bewilderment.

It’s a tricky business, this writing, and a harsh but valuable discipline. In a literature class I once took, the Professor required us to keep written journals, running commentary of our own choosing on all the material we were covering that semester. He quoted an old tribal saying as the rationale for the process: “How can I know what I think unless I see what I say.”

Indeed. There is something in writing that demands a certain disciplined, linear order of thought – “something something” followed by “something something else.” And the act of actually writing something down fixes it in a certain logical order that requires that whatever follows must fit the whole. Thinking your thoughts to yourself doesn’t work as well because they remain as fluid and changeable as smoke --a contradiction can simply be forgotten as the new thought forges ahead. And since most listeners may miss critical contradictions of spoken thought, the brain can easily manipulate the whole communication into a he said/ did not / did too muddle. Not so the written word. Those confusions pop up and remain stubborn in their inky presence on the page.

Which is not to say clear writing will result in clear reading. Far from it. Readers bring their own blinders and baggage to the process that’s often mystifying in its Rorschach weirdness. I have had a particular reader for years who is as dependable as Pavlov’s dog: tweak a few of his sacred cows and he’s guaranteed to come roaring out on the letters page in High Dudgeon. Unfortunately, his efforts too often always end in comedy because few people can figure out just what it was he saw in a particular column to set him off in the first place. And then, having worked himself up into an unseemly lather, his wrathful fury then carries him off into the wilderness of the non sequitur. He’s the kind of letter writer who responds to a column about Eliot Spitzer, for example, by demanding – DEMANDING! – to know why the columnist didn’t say a word about Millard Fillmore, I ask you! What about HIM? Eh? Eh?

To which one can only head-scratch and reply, Uh, well, probably because the column was about . . . Elliot Spitzer?
And so it goes, the constant reminder that no matter what you write about, some people simply won’t get it or will just use your comments as a springboard excuse to break out their own wonderful, horn-tooting, tub-thumping band wagon and go off down the road in a verbal calliope of fury.

To which I can only say, Amen. I’m happy that people care enough about a topic to bother to stand up and let their voices be heard. For a country that has enshrined in its Constitution the right of its citizens to speak out freely in the marketplace of ideas, we are a remarkably fearful and silent people. That is never good for a democracy.

And, as a columnist, it’s always useful to be reminded that there are people out there who think me a Complete Blockhead and that no matter what I write, they stand ready to unleash their Great Sword of Umbrage to remind readers what an unmitigated fool I am. That’s always good information to keep at hand before beginning the difficult process of putting thoughts to paper – “something something” followed by “something something else.”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Design Build Seminar


This is vitally a important seminar with outstanding experts. Barbara Jackson is a nationally recognized expert on delivering "Best Value" projects. Congress is requiring "best value" for the Army Corps of Engineers, and grant funded projects. SRF loans are funding Design-Build projects, and innovative projects are being approved that meet the needs of community, while saving millions in taxpayers dollars. The governor announced the strategic growth plan that releases billons in bonds for infrastructure.

"Governor Schwarzenegger proposes a set of new policies to leverage partnerships with the private sector, increase synergy between public agencies and educate thousands of new engineers to build the California of tomorrow.Empowering California to build, operate and maintain infrastructure better, faster and for less. In December, the Governor called on California to pass legislation that will permit the broad use of Performance Based Infrastructure (PBI)-also referred to as public-private partnerships-when this method can boost service for citizens or lower costs for taxpayers."

Are you interested in the builders ability to design-build to green specs and save taxpayers money? Control for smart planning and provide sustainable infrastructure?----This seminar is a must for those interested in protection of our resources and watersheds. The Seminar isn't only for the contractors or consultants---it is especially for communities with projects that require new or expanded public water and wastewater/recycling ands Desal projects -(and all will definately face projects in the near future)

YOU or Your decision makers and their staff need to know how to deliver sustainable projects for less!
Please forward the information below ALL on your lists, and send your community representatives and their staff.

For further information go to

Seminar will be: Networking Reception: Edna Valley Winery Friday, May 16, 5 -7:30
Seminar: Cal Poly, Saturday, May 17, 7:30 a.m. – 5 pm,
$149 Owner/Agency -- $249 Practitioner/Industry.

For further Info, call Gail McPherson – 459-4535, or Barbara Jackson 620-6130 or 756-67381 or go to the website listed above. - end -

For any Los Ososites, this seminar provides a great chance to find out what design/build can mean for the community IF the County decides to go down that path for their wastewater treatment plans.

Stealth Basin Plan Update 0005 & 0006 Hearing

May 9th, at the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Aerovista Place hearing room in SLO Town. Last chance for public comment before this documents stealths its way up to Sacramento to return in the form of a CAO on some hapless homeowner in Santa Margarita. Bwa-hahahahah. Oh, the Irony!

PZLDF Lawsuit Update

Some “anonymous” commenter posted a comment on a previous posting, that the PZLDF lawsuit was dead after reading the State’s latest arguments. I think the “anonymous” “expert” is a bit confused. He/she mistook an argument by one party for a ruling of some kind. Near as I can tell All Lawsuit Game Plans alway go as follows: The State, fully financed by the taxpayers, sez: Neener-Neener. Plaintiffs, financed by a handful of citizens struggling for some form of “justice,” say: Nuh-huh. State sez: Neener-Neener, and so forth until the plaintiffs are bled dry and die by the side of the road from sheer exhaustion, while the State, rolling in tax money, (tax money collected from – O Irony – the plaintiffs as well) prevails.

Or, as mentioned here, are bled dry before they can even get into a court of law. It’s called “equal Justice under Law.” (I find it interesting that apparently PZLDF was charged $5,000 by the RWQCB for “the official record” only to find out that the complete, official record they bought has, uh, holes in it? Hey, time for a refund here? Weirder yet, if the Official Record has holes in it, i.e. missing documents, how can the State’s Attorneys go into court to argue a case based on the Official Record only to find out that that Record has documentary holes in it? Like, the State’s Attorney could end up making some major point and then dramatically pointing to some “document” only to be asked to produce it and, Dang, it isn’t there, so the Judge asks, Where is it? And the attorney starts shuffling through the paper or clicking furiously through the CD and has to say, “Hold on, Your Honor, it was supposed to be right here, Wait, I’m looking, I’m looking . . .” No, no that’d be too embarrassing. Might make people think that the RWQCB was engaging in some more sneaky “stealthing.” Or just more incompetence? Eeeeuuuuuu, that’s sooooooo not good. )

From an email from PZLDF:

“Enforcement Petition:
This is the process to get our case to court. It is not a hearing of the evidence or case, but an effort by the State to deny us the very right to our appeal, and the evidence against the State. The State Attorney General, in behalf of the Regional Water Board, is trying to deny the parties the rights to present our case.

Shaunna is preparing the issues in a revised (4th petition) to put forth for reasons we should be heard by the Court. We anticipated this kind of preliminary fight, as the agencies of the State method to deny justice is to seek to bleed the (citizens) petitioners before we can get in from of a judge for the actual hearing. We have the evidence to prove our case and I encourage you to read through the petitions which are on . We are also listing all the documents are missing from administrative record, which was prepared by the Regional water board. (at a cost of $5000---I am working on the record with other parties, and if anyone wants to help or has documents they submitted that are not in the record, Please contact me or Shaunna's office. 459-4535 or 528-3355.

RWQCB new onsite regulations (revision of Basin Plan)
May 9 is the RWQCB meeting to adopt a new onsite regulations. The County MOU and the RWQCB revision seek to indemnify both agencies against liability for their actions and negligence that led to the current individual enforcement. A meeting Monday April 28 and May 5 (7:00 pm at Washington Mutual Bank-in Los Osos---will review written testimony to date concerning proposed onsite regulation for 3 county areas...Pass message to other communities!! ---we will assist in preparation of written and oral testimony for the RWQCB hearing May 9. “

As with all things Sewerish, “Stay Tuned” is the Watchword for “experts” and non “experts” alike.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

MAGIC! It’s Magic, Again!

At the BOS meeting yesterday, during the Stealth Basin Update portion of the meeting, it was demonstrated, once again, the amazing power of the RWQCB. It seems that in the entire Basin Update 0005 & 0006, not a single thing proposed in that document would have significant environmental impacts that would require it to undergo an EIR. List after list of proposed requirements and NOT A SINGLE IMPACT.

It’s Magic!

Of course, Supervisor Lenthall smelled a rat. Ditto Supervisor Ovitt. They grumbled about unfunded mandates and wanted to at least send a “white paper” letter upline to find out how these magical, self-exempted No Significant Environmental Impact Mandates were going to affect all other rural counties in the state. And Supervisor Gibson grumbled about unfunded mandates and so wanted to form a subcommittee to keep an eye on these Humpty Dumpty RWQCB magicians as their ordinance wends its magical way up to Sacramento. Mr. Gibson also warned the Board that the RWQCB can just do whatever they want and then plop it down on the county without rhyme and reason. (Ah, was what Sewerwatch blogger, Ron Crawford calls " Los Ososology" about to happen to other parts of the county and were those other Supervisors beginning to get an inkling of what their constitutents were in for?)

And it became clear that this Stealth Ordinance is an attempt to bypass the stalled state AB885. The problem with this update is it really is bypassing the same process that AB885 went through. Unanswered is why and by whom AB885 is/was being stalled. And, rightly, Supervisor Ovitt expressed concern that – once again – we may see this stealth ordinance hustled through only to be countermanded when and if AB885 finally makes it through with a set of conflicting standards, all of which will have to be reconciled or undone, which means: Mo’ Money for the county and/or the homeowners.And mo' lawsuits?

So what else is new? Well, one interesting wrinkle became clear. The County claims that the original MOU concerning septics “expired” a few years ago. And the county and the RWQCB are operating on verbal agreements, which to anyone living in the LOPZ and familiar with the RWQCB, means they’re not worth the paper they’re not printed on. But this also mean that the County can’t move ahead to issue permits for a variety of “green build” innovative wastewater treatment options for various county-wide projects since the RWQCB is the only “permitting” agency and it can take more than six months to get them to o.k. anything, thereby slowing down Being Green – an irony, especially when it comes to issues of WATER QUALITY.

So, there was the irony and the stick and carrot: do nothing and get some Stealth ordinance dropped on them or enter into an MOU with the Board in hopes of speeding up innovative greenbuild solutions, knowing full well that they’re dancing with the devil when they dance with THIS staff and THIS RWQCB.

I bring up this key point since it’s possible that the BOS has forgotten that it was THIS staff and THIS RWQCB that brought you the Los Osos Mad Pumping Scheme, a poorly thought through, poorly planned, hastily thrown together scheme that would have had an adverse impact on WATER QUALITY in Los Osos, one that was mercifully stopped by the SLO County Air Quality Board who came in at the 11th hour to say, Woa. Thereby showing to the watching world just what an ill thought out scheme these RWQCB Boyos had concocted – a fact that does not bode well for this magical “NO IMPACT” Stealth Update. No Impact. Right. Sure. Whatever.

The upshot of the BOS is that staff will be at the RWQCB May 9th hearing on the matter, will monitor what the RWQCB’s decisions are, then report back to the BOS, which will decide then how to go forward.

Emails, we get Emails or Oh, Lucy, Jooooo Gotta See This! Stealth Goes All Weird

Some emails regarding the new RWQCB’s Stealth Basin Plan Onsite Update (to be discussed at the Tuesday BOS) and other onsite issues. First, Steve Paige’s email to Sorrel Marks regarding his comments. Interesting how apparently Ms. Marks wants to “edit” his comnents? Save time and trouble, doncha know? Let’s just edit all this stuff out of there so it suddenly disappears from the official public comment record, heh-heh. That’s unlikely to sneak past Steve’s sharp eyes.

As for Ms. Reilly’s email, clearly Ms. Reilly has made a mistake in her first paragraph to Mr. Packard. Which prompted my emailing Mr. Packard for clarification. Also, very clearly, there’s still a lot of muddlement here in CDO land. I would opine it’s deliberate. I opine that, since clarifying things is sooooo simple, but has simply gone missing. Much better to stealth around in confusion. I mean, think how easy it would be for the RWQCB to take up my suggestion, print it on bright yellow paper and mail it to every household in the PZ, like they did with the NOVs they sent out.

Emails posted with permission.

Mr. Paige’s email:

Regional Water Quality Control Board
Attn: Sorrel Marks.
895 Aerovista Place Suite 101San Luis Obispo, CA 93401(805) 549-3147

Dear Ms. Marks,

Thank you for the call yesterday about my concerns relating to your septic updates Draft Resolution No. R3-2008-0005, Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan, Central Coast Basin, revising criteria for onsite wastewater systems, and associated staff report.

I was driving with my daughter and two teenage girls to Santa Barbara when you phoned as was a bit distracted. After your call I realized that you mentioned that you were only going to submit 14 pages of my original complaint without Exhibits. I wish to preserve the administrative record of my filing with you and have all exhibits go on record and be posted before hearing. I am sending you PDF copies that I can of documents to limit the time you would have to spend to post them by scanning them.

Since my home has a septic system, it would be subject to the changes your office has proposed, PZ not withstanding. If you have read all the documentation I have given you, you probably know that I am challenging your CEQA exemption relating to mitigation of Nitrogen contamination in the prohibition zone by source separation of urine and feces and shipping the urine to another waste facility out of the prohibition zone. Source separation represents a new generic form of compliance not covered in your amendments, is a form of mitigation that has considerably fewer environmental impacts and uses less energy than what you have proposed your updates. Same with NSF 41 approved composting toilets, some of which use no energy.

The second part of my CEQA challenge is that your office has continued to impose the Los Osos Prohibition zone enforcement model on my home through orders claiming I am allowed zero discharge after certain benchmarks. The prohibition zone orders and the zone itself have never been reviewed and validated for Environmental Justice Compliance. I think that the PZ zone and orders financially discriminates against the urban poor and financially discriminates against racial minorities as set out in my documentation to your office. I will submit more on this for the record at the hearing.

Your update requires an EIR for compliance with AB-32. Your office if it had studied the wording of AB-32 and subsequent State narratives on compliance you would realize that by imposing the prohibition zone model on a small portion of the groundwater basin your are creating an envoi mental impact because the PZ model of enforcement limits critical path analysis for least energy consumption and least creation for greenhouse gasses. The present energy and real estate markets make affordable, least energy solutions absolutely critical.

As you know I am still requesting a 13269 PC Waiver, and cooperation for creating a SEP program in the Los Osos groundwater basin as a method of voluntary interim compliance until there is an equitable community solution to Nitrogen mitigation. Our calculations show that a Source Separation—STMP—Retrofit program in the Los Osos groundwater basin would remove the same amount of nitrogen than the proposed LOWWP while banking 100AF/yr. of deep aquifer groundwater improving basin groundwater balance and reduce energy consumption by as much as 80 percent.

I hope you have time to review my comments on proportional discharge and regulatory takings from my previous submissions. I believe that I have the right to proportional discharge related to a one acre parcel. If it was used as criteria for enforcement the prohibition zone enforcement model would be unnecessary and all parcels would have a method of compliance that is economically equitable and relational to your new amendments. By imposing the PZ model of enforcement on my property and ignoring my above requests you raise the following CEQA challenges beyond what I have mentioned above which I will be submitting at hearing. PZ septics are one in the same with the other basin septics except for property size:

No AB32 GHG evaluation of the PZ model of enforcement and zero discharge order impacts.
No assimilative capacity study for the zero discharge order in the PZ.. See CITY OF ARCADIA et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants, v. STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD et al., Defendants and Appellants. D043877(Super. Ct. No. GIC803631)
No cost/benefit analysis relating to the PZ and zero discharge order (to validate compliance to EJ precautionary principal narratives) under Water Code section 13267 or the consideration of economic factors under Water Code section 13241 (Same case as above.)
No regulatory takings study relating to the zero discharge vs. proportional discharge for smaller properties equivocating a one acre parcel-- see Executive Order 12630 of Mar. 15, 1988, appear at 53 FR 8859, 3 CFR, 1988 Comp., p. 554.
Proportional discharge is more consistent with the parallel rules exemption from CEQA because it mitigates 95% of the air pollution impacts from shipping wastes and meets EPA guidelines for community compliance. EPA air standards would not allow constant shipping of all wastes from 5000 residences.
First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles, 482 U.S. 304(1987)The Court ruled that even if a regulation that has been found to result in a taking is repealed or invalidated the government must pay just compensation for the interim period that the regulation was in effect. The zero discharge order puts at risk the RWQCB3 for takings compensation for interim compliance.

Thanks for your time. Let me know when we can start the paperwork for my PC 13269 Waiver and SEP paperwork, and request for financial assistance. I think we had a good conversation and you got a good idea of what my beefs are. What can you offer me?


Ms. Reilly’s email:

dateMon, Mar 31, 2008 at 3:08 PM subjectOur Meeting

Dear Mr Packard, Thank you for meeting with us. It seems, though, not much was illuminated. As you said, I can install the Reclamator but it does not absolve me of the $25,000 assessment.

One point we did not cover was that in my recharge of the aquifer, which you stated was permissible, I would install a drip system, a few inches below ground, where my garden would absorb the remaining nitrates. Any other chemicals and particulates would be removed further down my property by a small grove of trees, which includes two redwoods. Studies have shown that redwood trees are a highly effective polishers of foreign substances in water, thereby allowing truly clean water to peculate further. unlike the County's plan, this design allows 100% recharge to our aquifer with no danger of liquefaction and no possible chance of pollution by raw sewage. I would also be installing solar panels to run my Reclamator, giving it the same carbon footprint as in 1990, as prescribed by the Governor in AB32.

In recent weeks alarming articles have been published regarding how little water is left, how pharmaceuticals are prevalent in most of the water supplies, and how the chemicals we use are affecting the endocrine systems of all living creatures, including humans. Neither conventional waste water treatment nor septics can remove these man made chemicals but, thankfully, the Recamator and a well thought out garden can indeed solve these problems.

It is baffling that permits for septic tanks continue to be issued for new construction. Current and future retrofit programs should be using best available technology, not outlawed and outdated technology. This is the same exact logic as installing a conventional sewer system for Los Osos, as soon as it fails, and it will, you'll fine us. Such "business" dealings are know as collusion and are illegal.

As the County continues with its plan of a conventional Carrollo system, I have the right, per California Water Code 13360 Manner of Compliance, to install any legal system I choose. For you to keep moving the goal post, by now saying nothing, except for what the County chooses, is legal, is illegal. You seem to pick and choose the laws you wish to follow and when you want to follow them. The last time I checked, this is the United States of America and not CCRWQCB World.

Of the questions posed to you , which went unanswered, the most profound was, " Is your Board about water quality or is it really about control?" The meeting concluded with the saddest statement of all. In our parting, as you weakly shook my hand, not only did you try to pull away, but you were unable to look me in the eyes when I spoke to you. All I can surmise is that you are too cowardly to face the havoc you are wreaking.
Good Day, Piper Reilly

My letter to Harvey Packard for clarification:
Dear Mr. Packard,

I received a copy of an email from Piper Reilly, sent to you on March 31 regarding a meeting you had with her. In the email she recaps the following: "It seems though, not much was illunimated. As you said, I can install the Reclamator but it does not absolve me of the $25,000 assessment."

I'd like to post Ms. Reilly's email, but this statement appears to be incorrect. According to testimony from Matt Thompson, statements from the Board, official, legal statements in the CDOs etc, NO ONSITES will be allowed within the PZ. Zero discharge means no onsites and anyone not hooking up to the county built community system by 2011 will face high fines and, according to Mr. Thompson's statement, would ultimately have to abandon their homes, & etc.

Ms. Reilly, on the other hand, appears to be saying that you told her she could install the Reclamator? To do so, as I understand it, would require a permit from you folks?

Could you please clarify the Board's position (and/or perhaps clarify what you actually told her, since her comments above can't possibly be correct) vis a vis the Reclamator and/or any other onsite system, so I can post the correct, official information?

I also don't understand how a homeowner could be successfully (legally?) be kept on the hook for an assessment for a "benefit" they do not receive, i.e. a community sewer that they're not using and have no intention of using and are not required to use since they have installed an onsite system legally permitted by the RWQCB & etc. . If that were the case, then the County would have assessed homeowners outside the PZ, for example, even though they're not required to hook up either. I find the claim that homeowners would be on the hook for an assessment that was voted into being under direct threat even more puzzling. I'm sure Ms. Reilly has that incorrect as well.

I hope you can clarify.

Thank you

Mr. Packard’s Reply:

Ms. Calhoun,

Attached is a letter we sent to the county regarding permitting of the Reclamator. The second situation described in the letter would apply to Ms. Reilly and most other residents of the prohibition zone. The Basin Plan prohibition applies to all discharges of waste, including those from alternative and advanced treatment systems, such as the Reclamator. So a resident or owner who installs such a system now must still pay the assessment and must hook into the community system when it is available.

Harvey Packard, Section Manager and Enforcement CoordinatorCentral Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board895 Aerovista Place, Suite 101San Luis Obispo, CA 93401Phone: (805) 542-4639

And my reply:
Thank you. Now the next question to be solved: Does the Reclamator discharge "waste." I presume that will have to be solved in court?

Since Ms. Reilly came away from your meeting unclear on this subject, I think it would save a lot of time if you simply wrote (and passed out to anyone who inquired) a letter, on official RWQCB letterhead stationery, signed by Mr. Young, that says the following:

“ Homeowners in the PZ are free to install any onsite system they want to on their property. However, the RWQCB and Staff will not permit or recognize or acknowledge or issue a waiver for ANY onsite system, not even any "advanced" onsite system, to be installed in the LOPZ in any way shape or form, not even ones whose "discharge" meets federal standards or any other water standards for recycled water, treated wastewater, not even systems that result in "discharges" of nitrates well below the state or even federal allowed standards for all pollutants, not even systems that result in "discharges" that do not harm the upper aquifer, the lower aquifer, the bay and/or the waters of the State of California, and not even if an onsite system results in "discharges" that are cleaner than what the county wastewater treatment system will discharge/recharge back into the aquifer, with their official "discharge permit," given to them by us. Nope, nothing whatever, zip, zero.

“And by 2011 if you're not hooked up to the county sewer system, the RWQCB will issue a CAO and start fining you out of your homes.”

I'd also suggest posting same on your website, since there seems to be some ongoing confusion in the community, even after meetings with your staff.

Ann Calhoun
Los Osos, CA

Sunday, April 20, 2008

RWQCB’s Stealth Onsite Update, Part Duh

On Tuesday, April 22, in the afternoon sometime, the BOS will be considering the RWQCB’s new Stealth Onsite Basin Plan Revision, Part Duh. The county staff report is available ( and as you can see from the email posted below, Al Barrow is requesting that the plan be subject to CEQA rules.

Also posted, comments by PZLDF. Their comments are lenghty and detailed, which points up yet another problem. If this document was a draft, was it even ready to be circulated? Or did it have so much missing or not thought out or hastily cobbled together that it shouldn't have even gotten off the table yet? If that's the case, what's going on here? Why would THIS Regional Board be sending around a draft that is supposedly ready to go up to Sacramento for a final vote, when it's clear there's ginormous holes in the thing? And what happened to AB885, which had a lot of holes already fixed and seemed to be farther along the process than this thing? Because this draft is being pushed by THIS staff and THIS Board, I have to wonder what's really going on here.

Which is why I hope the County votes to send this thing back to the drawing board for a proper hearind and/or agrees to push for CEQA Rules for this simple reason: The update is being drafted by THIS Regional Board. The same Board that gave you the Los Osos Mad Pumping Scheme, which was so poorly thought out that it wheedled and careened off into a ditch of its own making. And THIS staff of THIS Board started the Mad Hatterish “trials” of The Los Osos 45, another poorly thought out plan that, on the first try, wheedled and careened off into a ditch of its own making. It should have stayed there, but Nooooo, THIS staff and THIS Board dug the disaster out and pushed it down the road for 18 pointless months of more wasted money.

In short, before the County goes along with anything THIS staff or THIS Board has dreamed up, please God! let’s make sure some competent Environmental scientists and engineers have their eyes on the page. Otherwise, this poorly thought through plan will end up in a very expensive ditch (If the county is objecting to this document on various key points, consider how many other points MIGHT have been brought up if the stakeholders (i.e. citizens living in unincorporated areas on septic systems) had been notified and allowed a chance to review and comment on this. If you’re looking for a reason why this document was run under the radar, the air quality issue alone is just one example of what went missing and/or was cavalierly dismissed in this draft.)

And, at the very least, before THIS Staff and THIS Board drafts ANY regulations on ANY onsite systems, Please God, let them FIRST hire on as additional staff members, competent alternative onsite technology experts. And maybe one of those systems experts that can look at the whole game plan and spot hidden conflicts and problems before proceeding forward. Or even some person who keeps asking, "What's the POINT of these regulations? What's the COST/BENEFIT ratio?" You know, somebody who looks ahead past the end of his furious “fine them out of existence” nose?

Mr. Barrow’s letter.

To: PCL General Counsel 5/19/08
Dear Honorable Gary Patton;
We believe strongly that the CCRWQCB Basin Plan and the included onsite management requirements meet the CEQA bar for an EIR. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board maintains that is not the case. However the state AB885 onsite management did require an EIR. What is the difference? More diesel trips will impact air quality as septage more frequently pumped will add a huge carbon footprint to air pollution. We seek your opinion. Is this a project that has impacts that rise to the level of CEQA review? Or as they maintain is a Negative Declaration sufficient?

Larry Allen, Director of the SLO APCD, stated to that Regional Board 3 the impact from added trucking of there past proposed 2 month pumping for 5,000 in Los Osos had a significant air quality impact. The Region3 has 130,000 septic systems that would require pumping and trucking 26,000 a year. Flying in the face of that a trucking plan for more septic tank pumping throughout the 5 county area, including Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey Counties would be a very large increase over the 1990 standards that AB32 requires roll back to. The likely destination would be in Kern County many times as far as the Santa Maria site previously proposed or other destinations as yet defined. If these and other industrial impacts are not mitigated how will that goal be achieved? Not to mention a million kWh proposed sewer collection and treatment system that is going through the CEQA process as we speak in SLO County alone.

In addition: California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. has noticed all 59 counties, all cities and planning authorities in the state to comply with AB32 greenhouse gas emissions reduction as a requirement of their General Plans.. Is the State exempt from it's own requirements and goals? That would be inconsistent with the expressed desires of the Governor who signed the bill and the State of California legislature that wrote and approved the bill who represent the people.

Part of CEQA is the economic impacts. As Director of Coalition for Low Income Housing, a California Public benefit corporation, I am a stakeholder in issues that effect affordable housing. Please see mission statement . So I am obliged to seek relief from an additional and unnecessary burden to those who will be injured economically in an increasingly costly rental and housing market. I have submitted 3 comments under the allowed deadline of April 7, 2008.
SLO County Planning department issued a staff report on the SLO County BOS website: last page final bullet states it will negatively impact the cost of affordable housing. Thursday at the BOS candidate debate on affordable housing all candidates supported affordable housing which is in concert with smart growth one of the state’s stated planning values to control urban sprawl. In keeping with the Sierra Club and other environmental organization supporting sustainable development of which affordable housing is a necessary element to achieve in-fill and density, affordable housing must be supported by all state agencies according to these California Codes:

In addition the state finds:
65580. The Legislature finds and declares as follows: (a) The availability of housing is of vital statewide importance, and the early attainment of decent housing and a suitable living environment for every Californian, including farmworkers, is a priority of the highest order. (b) The early attainment of this goal requires the cooperative participation of government and the private sector in an effort to expand housing opportunities and accommodate the housing needs of Californians of all economic levels. (c) The provision of housing affordable to low- and moderate-income households requires the cooperation of all levels of government. (d) Local and state governments have a responsibility to use the powers vested in them to facilitate the improvement and development of housing to make adequate provision for the housing needs of all economic segments of the community. (e) The Legislature recognizes that in carrying out this responsibility, each local government also has the responsibility to consider economic, environmental, and fiscal factors and community goals set forth in the general plan and to cooperate with other local governments and the state in addressing regional housing needs.

And In addition the state finds:
50840. (a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following: (1) California is experiencing a severe housing shortage that compounds itself further each year. While it is estimated that 250,000 new homes are needed each year to keep up with demand, only 140,000 building permits for new residential housing were issued in 1999. Moreover, the average number of residential building permits issued over the last seven years is only 105,000 new units per year. (2) The shortage in housing supply has led to skyrocketing home sale and rental prices, which have made housing unaffordable to many Californians. Seven of the nation's 10 least affordable metropolitan areas for housing are in California. More than 35 percent of renter households experience an extreme housing cost burden, which has been defined as paying more than 50 percent of their income for housing…

As general counsel for the Planning and Conservation League it would be appropriate for you to comment as to the CEQA requirement, which if I understood the class on CEQA you taught here and the PCL Booklet indicates a need for an EIR if project impacts seem likely. This State project can be interpreted as a mandate to the local authorities that are required to implement it…as such, it is a project under the definitions outlined in "Community Guide To The California Environmental Quality Act, J.William Yeates Fall 2007 and the and I also cite Climate Change and CEQA -- Presentation by Cynthia Bryant, OPR Director, 11/14/07 Overview of OPR's role in CEQA implementation and its approach to drafting CEQA Guidelines as required by law.

It has unknown cost for water lab testing, more frequent onsite testing, added pumping frequencies of doubtful water quality benefit, it has restrictions on affordable housing on the SLO County Housing Element in the SLO County General Plan by required acres, a similar plan has been in place in Santa Cruz county with little water quality improvement according to the Manger of the 13 year old program. It likely requires a septage treatment facility with all of the accompaning impacts according to the SLO County Planning staff report on the SLO BOS agenda April 22, 2008.. Just to0 many impacts to describe here.

Perhaps the RWQCB3 is not apprised of the latest CEQA requirements. In any case PCL and the AG must have an opinion. Please give us the PCL opinion. Since PCL created the CEQA legislation, whom would be more eminently Qualified? Further The Attorney General represents the SWRCB and their 9 Regional Boards and did not protest their EIR in a similar State effort to implement AB885 onsite treatment maintenance program. Will a small amout of water improvement trump a large amout of global warming emissions? Seems to be a question for CEQA review.

Thank You,Al Barrow, President, Citizens for Affordable and Safe Environment & Coalition for Low Income Housing & LOCSD Water Committee
cc: Governor Shwarzenegger
cc: Edmund G. Brown Jr. California Attorney General
cc: Terry Roberts Director OPR
cc:Larry Allen, Director, SLO APCD
cc:Monica Hunter PCL Staff and RWQCB3 Member

PZLDF's Letter

dedicated to clean water, regulatory compliance
and protection of property rights
Po Box 6095
Los Osos Ca 9341
April 7, 2008

895 Aerovista Pl. Suite 101
San Luis Obispo, Ca 93401
RE: General Comments CCRWQCB–Basin Plan Triennial Review Projects;
Amending the Water Quality Control Plan; Revising the Onsite Wastewater System Criteria- Basin Plan Chapters 4 and 5 (onsite sections only); and the Rescission of Resolution R3-83-12.

Dear Chairman Young and Honorable Board Members:
Citizens for Clean Water is a watershed wide group of concerned professionals and private citizens. We are submitting these written comments, and respectively requesting detailed information and documents, and well as written responses and copies of other comments and questions. We are also requesting your staff’s list of all system regulators and interested parties along with their contact information. Please also provide all documents related to the amendment process, the scoping meetings, and discussions in addition to other requests within this document.

The line by line analysis of the changes to the Basin Plan is not complete at this time. However, we plan to submit additional written testimony prior to, and at the May 9, 2008 hearing.
Lack of Notice: The Public and Stakeholder Process have been inadequate. Although Citizens for Clean Water generally supports update the Basin Plan for onsite treatments systems, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board must comply with all public process requirements, and is not allowed to deprive the citizens of information and review, and thereby abuse its regulatory powers.

Affected Parties are the Property Owners: Even if the minimum legal requirements are met, the lack of notification to the actual property owners affected by the Regional Board’s proposed regulations denies the public the opportunity to challenge the RWQCB actions. The Public Notice provided by staff was only to a very select group of agencies and groups that are no more than delegated "third parties" to administer the private onsite system requirements. Citizens for Clean Water is on the list for notices, yet received none. Other individuals under the proposed amendment will not be eligible for waivers, and are directly affected, yet were not noticed.
Lack of Adequate Time for Written Response: The actual affected parties on private property that inadvertently learned of the RWQCB actions are now faced with the lack of adequate time to respond, inadequate specificity in reports and resolutions, an absence of defined outcomes, no cost analysis, vague language throughout, and possibly very onerous consequences that require critical information and a legitimate public process for participation.

Staff Says it needs to Eliminate Vague Language: There have been global complaints of abbreviated staff reports that are presented without proper references or links to important information or statutes. Many statements appear to be the opinions of staff and the use of "fuzzy" explanations and assertions abound without being anchored in facts. Just one example of the lack of definitions and vague statements can be seen in the Staff report statement justifying the need for the Triennial Review ‘project’. Staff states the number of onsite systems "exceed 100,000" and the number that is designed properly and performing adequately as "many". The pubic should know if the RWQCB staff has this information and, if so, the RWQCB should supply it to the public.

What is the accurate number of septic systems the RWQCB is seeking to regulate?
What is the accurate number of systems that are failing?
What are the affected water bodies, and the onsite systems responsible?
What is the accurate number of wells and their locations that are impacted by pathogens from onsite sources?
(Other detailed comments and questions concerning vague language are in Attachment A that reviews the individual staff documents and amendments to be submitted.)

Pending Litigation: Citizens for Clean Water formally objects to the proposed amended Basin Plan in that it seeks to strengthen enforcement powers in order to apply the enforcement tactics against individual property owners throughout the region that were used against Los Osos homeowners. These actions are currently being challenged in Superior Court (CV 070472 Citizens for Clean Water-PZLDF vs. Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board)
Expanded Authority without Oversight or Accountability: The regional water board seeks to expand its discretionary power in every resolution. While making claims that the current WQCP is confusing because it is left open for conflicting interpretations, the language remains unclear, and the consequences undefined. The attitude that it can be "figured out later" is unacceptable and contradicts the stated intent and justification given for the hasty update. The likelihood that RWQCB revisions to onsite will be especially onerous to individual property owners throughout the entire region requires facts and specificity.

Ca Water Code 13263 does not mention ‘onsite’ or authorize regulation of waste discharge "including discharges from Onsite systems" as stated in the RWQCB staff report. Citizens for Clean Water do not deny that the RWQCB has such authority, but that this code is misquoted.
Ca Water Code 13263. (a) The regional board, after any necessary hearing, shall prescribe requirements as to the nature of any proposed discharge, existing discharge, or material change in an existing discharge, except discharges into a community sewer system, with relation to the conditions existing in the disposal area or receiving waters upon, or into which, the discharge is made or proposed. The requirements shall implement any relevant water quality control plans that have been adopted, and shall take into consideration the beneficial uses to be protected, the water quality objectives reasonably required for that purpose, other waste discharges, the need to prevent nuisance, and the provisions of Section 13241.(See below)

(b) A regional board, in prescribing requirements, need not
authorize the utilization of the full waste assimilation capacities
of the receiving waters.
(c) The requirements may contain a time schedule, subject to
revision in the discretion of the board.
(d) The regional board may prescribe requirements although no
discharge report has been filed.
(e) Upon application by any affected person, or on its own motion,
the regional board may review and revise requirements. All
requirements shall be reviewed periodically.
(f) The regional board shall notify in writing the person making
or proposing the discharge or the change therein of the discharge
requirements to be met. After receipt of the notice, the person so
notified shall provide adequate means to meet the requirements.
(g) No discharge of waste into the waters of the state, whether or
not the discharge is made pursuant to waste discharge requirements,
shall create a vested right to continue the discharge. All
discharges of waste into waters of the state are privileges, not
(h) The regional board may incorporate the requirements prescribed
pursuant to this section into a master recycling permit for either a
supplier or distributor, or both, of recycled water.
(i) The state board or a regional board may prescribe general
waste discharge requirements for a category of discharges if the
state board or that regional board finds or determines that all of
the following criteria apply to the discharges in that category:
(1) The discharges are produced by the same or similar operations.
(2) The discharges involve the same or similar types of waste.
(3) The discharges require the same or similar treatment
(4) The discharges are more appropriately regulated under general
discharge requirements than individual discharge requirements.
(j) The state board, after any necessary hearing, may prescribe
waste discharge requirements in accordance with this section.

The reference in Ca Water Code13263 indicates that "reasonable protection of beneficial uses" and factors to be considered.
Ca Water Code 13241. Each regional board shall establish such water quality objectives in water quality control plans as in its judgment will ensure the reasonable protection of beneficial uses and the prevention of nuisance; however, it is recognized that it may be possible for the quality of water to be changed to some degree without unreasonably affecting beneficial uses. Factors to be considered by a regional board in establishing water quality objectives shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, all of the following:
(a) Past, present, and probable future beneficial uses of water.
(b) Environmental characteristics of the hydrographic unit under consideration, including the quality of water available thereto.
(c) Water quality conditions that could reasonably be achieved
through the coordinated control of all factors which affect water
quality in the area.
(d) Economic considerations.
(e) The need for developing housing within the region.
(f) The need to develop and use recycled water.

Exceed Water Code Authority and Affects Land Planning: The entire multi-county region will find the proposed amendments will provide the regional water board’s with powers to act as the final authority on land planning. There are many unintended consequences, including incentives for high growth and unsustainable development in rural areas, and discouragement for affordable housing. In areas that contain the best soils, or valuable riparian zones, development may be incentivized. Further, urbanization, and growth for high end housing through energy intensive centralized treatment is promoted.

What is the justification for requiring a 5 unit parcel development that now will be required to have a community system with permits, monitoring, and reporting burdens?
Explain why granny units are no longer allowed without adding another acre to the property footprint for onsite?
How will this affect the affordable housing stock and future of housing in the 4 counties affected by the WQCP?
Note the Water Code referenced below:
Ca Water Code 13291.7. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to limit the land use authority of any city, county, or city and county.

Economic Disparity for Affected Communities: How will the amendments specifically affect the targeted communities of San Martin, San Lorenzo Valley, Carmel Valley, Carmel Highlands, Prunedale, El Toro, Shandon, Templeton, Santa Margarita, Garden Farms, Los Osos, Baywood Park, Arroyo Grande, Nipomo, Upper Santa Ynez Valley, Los Olivos and Ballard? Certainly property owners in targeted communities should have been noticed with an analysis of the costs, benefits and consequences provided to them.

Anti-Property Rights:The line between private onsite systems as private property, and the public nature of community programs that manage onsite treatment system is blurred. Access to private property and regulation of private treatment systems, with resultant enforcement that can lead to possible criminal liability is unacceptable. The retroactive liability for past pollution levels in adjacent water is incompatible with private property laws. OAL review is needed.
Forecloses on Environmentally Sound Green Solutions:
The amendments add unacceptable liability for properties with onsite treatment systems, and discourage such energy efficient wastewater systems. These systems are compatible with SB 32 goals for greenhouse gas (GHG), emissions, yet the amendments ignore the importance of low or zero carbon footprint treatment systems, such as onsite systems, that are compatible and supportive of EPA guidance for GHG. The full range of environmental impacts created by the amendments needs to be studied, evaluated, and disclosed.

Amendment Process Violates CEQA: The Triennial review and amendments and resolutions represents a project which requires CEQA. RWQCB Staff indicated they are exempt, but, the proposed language changes and resolutions are NOT minor, and the consequences lack scrutiny. The staff reports indicate that staff held a scoping meeting with county representatives pursuant to CEQA.

Provide the scoping report
Provide the list of county representatives with whom you met
Provide documents and notes from the meetings with county representatives
The staff has provided no cost/benefit information or analysis. The environmental review process consists of denying that they have a duty under CEQA to provide information and yet a environmental checklist is included. Staff states that no scientific findings are required, and cavalierly note that enough already has been done and the impacts are minimal.
(A separate response to the checklist will be submitted)
Affordability and Environmental Justice: SWRCB requirements to review affordability and environmental justice are completely ignored. Further, the uncertainty about the financial effects of the proposed amended WQCP to private property as the private systems are subject to a new quasi-public ownership- are not addressed. The issues "inverse condemnation" or "regulatory takings" of private property that may result are not addressed either.
What assurance can a property owner have in the value or future value of their property, when the onsite system is granted a waiver, only to be later required to have a WDR permit--(all waivers are conditional and no guarantee they will continue)
How has the RWQCB handled the statutory requirement to evaluate the economic disparity for areas with waivers vs. those with WDR’s or Urban vs. Rural economic impacts?
If the water boards discretionary findings later require a property owner to hook up to a community system, yet one is not available, what are the anticipated outcome, costs, and enforcement issues?
Unfunded Mandates: Proposed Amendment to WQCP institutes mandatory compliance programs that represent an unfunded mandates on already strapped government agencies for yet another costly local program. The proposed resolution violates Article XIIIB of the California Constitution which requires that "Whenever the Legislature or any state agency mandates a new program or higher level of service on any local government; the State shall provide a subvention of funds to reimburse that local government for the costs of the program or increased level of service". The proposed resolution is unconstitutional as it mandates a higher level of services, regulation, monitoring and enforcement of septic maintenance without providing any funds to implement same. (see costs and funding questions raised elsewhere)
There is Insufficient Evidence That the Amendment is needed(as written): Until questions can be answered and statutory requirements met, the adoption hearing is premature. Among these are questions are those raised by the National Onsite Wastewater Association posted on the California Onsite Wastewater association white paper on statewide standards (AB 885)

Please respond to each of them in detail in written responses.
What is the desired level of risk reduction?
What are other contributors to the problem?
What part of the problem is attributable to onsite systems?
Will the contemplated rules achieve the objective?
Will the surface and subsurface waters meet the standard of beneficial use after implementation?
Will the public and private cost be reasonable and politically sustainable? (Costs include money, time and citizen’s ability to use their land.)
Will the regulatory community be able to implement the provisions reasonably - equitably, technically and politically?
Will the agencies have sufficient resources?
Will the onsite service provider community be able to implement the rules – sufficient trained personnel with the tools and treatment components necessary to do the job?
To what extent, if any, do the rules represent a mixed motive, such as rural land use control?
Resulting Fees and Charges are Undefined and Unapproved: The amendments fail to address the requirements of proposition 218, as local agencies will be required to fund onsite programs. The justification by local agencies requires analysis of the services, the cost/benefits or anticipated outcomes, and must be sufficient for such voter approvals. To fail to supply any information it can be assumed the amendments place an unfair burden on the property owners and local agencies without adequate justification for the changes.

Water Quality Benefits are Unknown: There is no reason to anticipate that this amendment will result in any water quality protection or improvements of any kind. There is no scientific data; no studies are referenced, no independent expert review of the amendment, no stakeholder’s development process, and no peer review. The costly revisions are simply unfounded and nothing indicates such changes will better protect or improve water quality in any way.
Assumptions must be backed by Science: The Central Coast is largely rural, and onsite impacts and the contribution to pollution by failing Onsite wastewater treatment systems is not quantified in any real defensible scientific studies by the RWQCB. The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and EPA both state that "Technically sound regulatory policy is based on assumptions supported by science"
[emphasis not in the original, was added here by Ann]

Onsite represents but a Fraction of the Non Point Source Pollution: Citizens for Clean Water believes that greater control of non-point source pollution is long overdue. The control of point source pollution is well established; however, the continued examples of harmful pollutant loadings from preventable sanitary sewer overflows, storm water contaminants, and agricultural runoff pose the greatest threat. These sources comprise the majority of contamination to the ground water, streams, beaches and bay, is clearly unacceptable. The status of the 303 (d) listing of water bodies is directly impacted by the continued uncontrolled pollution from these non-point sources, and the proposed changes ignore the relationship to onsite waivers and impacts to private properties for pollution from sources other than onsite systems.

Waivers Denied ---Impaired Water Bodies: Amended language and new resolutions do not allow waivers if property is proximate to impaired water bodies, (303 (d)) and require burdensome requirements for private properties. The basis for impairment is NOT (in most all cases) due to onsite treatment systems, but from historically major pollutant sources such as sanitary sewer overflows, storm water and agricultural runoff. The retroactive burden to owners of private property with onsite systems (that did not contribute to the historic impairment of the water body) is inconsistent with the law.

Failure in Non-Point Pollution Programs: The RWQCB lack of meeting their program goals for non-point source control and the improvement goals in water quality, now places the burden on private properties with onsite treatment systems. As stated these systems are proportionally insignificant in most areas. Information on each affected property and demonstration that the proposed actions will protect and improve such water bodies needs to be demonstrated. Ignoring pollutant loadings from other sources, while failing to estimate loads from onsite systems, actually places the cart ahead of the water shed horse. Onsite pollution represents but a fraction of the water shed pollution, and it is well known that Water Quality programs designed to protect precious drinking water supplies are compromised. These programs abandoned onsite, and now in historically sewered communities, such as Morro Bay, have Nitrates that are not from onsite systems at all. In Morro Bay, and elsewhere, such nitrate contamination is common, and has actually increased and renders their drinking water wells unfit.

Provide the Proportion of Pollutants from all Sources: The basis for the added expense of RWQCB amendments is said to achieve water quality, however the majority of pollution (well established based on scientific information) is from sources other than onsite septic systems. While the onsite treatment systems need to be addressed, the first step is to properly quantify the extent of the problem to be solved. Onsite treatment systems should have some program for monitoring and reporting performance after construction, however the cost and benefits in placing a huge bureaucratic program in place without any foundation for scientifically defensible process to assure (measurable) beneficial outcomes is specious.

The staff report by the Water Board is silent on the proportional contaminates from onsite systems, and the loadings from other sources, however staff has stated they believe programs concerning onsite systems has been ineffective based on faulty interpretation. It is well established that funding for local programs is the chief constraint. The delegated tasks through various County Memorandums of Understanding (MOU’s) building permit criteria, building moratoriums, and planning departments’ criteria for onsite have actually worked quite well at assuring minimum standards for onsite systems. The RWQCB has SWRCB’s statewide minimum standards and consistency under AB 885, however the RWQCB has moved swiftly to amend, revise and replace its onsite rules. Concern that the lack of proportional pollutant findings presents undue hardship placed on onsite treatment discharges and needs to be addressed in a public forum.

The effectiveness of implementing programs to control non-point pollution must be quantified and resources expended proportionally. The obvious budget issues and "water quality" urgency requires selection of programs that provide "more bang for the buck". If it is really about water quality the need to step up the Storm water and agricultural runoff pollution prevention programs promise to have the greatest impacts on protection and improvement to water quality in streams and beaches.

Please provide a list of non-point source programs
Provide status on non-point programs and enforcement actions
Provide the proportional pollution for each source of non-point pollution, and the specific watershed areas affected, and the specific relationship to onsite impacts.
Provide models of nonpoint source water shed loadings from all sources
What are the anticipated reduction in the loadings from onsite to impaired water bodies?

Conditional Waivers and Inherent Uncertainty: Citizens for Clean Water agrees that reviewing established minimum standards for onsite systems is an important part of proper water shed management. According to the Onsite Treatment in California and Progression Toward Statewide Standards,(Cal State Chico Research Center, June 2004), provides a history of the water boards local approach to onsite systems. "Generally, the regional boards delegate direct regulatory authority for individual onsite sewage treatment systems to local agencies. Delegation is through a waiver process, which waives the requirement for WDRs for onsite systems."

How do the proposed resolutions and amendments to the basin plan, which change the current status to "mandatory programs" affect delegation through waivers?
What is the exact number of onsite systems, zones or areas that will not be eligible for waivers? (such as any property with onsite systems adjacent to a 303(d) listed water body)
What permit fees and charges will the local agency pay to the RWQCB for their program review and approvals?
What is the risk for fines, enforcement, establishment of prohibition zones, and added cost to homeowners for WDR and monitoring under the proposed changes?
When is the property owner to learn of the status of their property and costs associated with the amendments?
Why hasn’t an EIR for your triennial project been prepared?
How does the WQCP (Basin Plan) amendments and resolutions differ or deviate from Waivers within AB 885-the statewide plan?

Triennial Review Process: The Staff report references Water Quality Control Plan, Triennial Review backlogged projects the basis for the current urgency and action now. A review of the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s (RWQCB) Water Quality Control Plan, Triennial Review Priority List, Dec. 7, 2001, and attachment "A" proposed and final issues lists indicated the proposed "projects" to update the WQCP (basin plan) and is dependent on the AB 885 process by the SWRCB. The RWQCB reports defer efforts, request funding, and state that the RWQCB is dependent on the State timetable for AB 885 Onsite standards.

Compare WQCP with AB 885: Citizens for Clean Water objects to the RWQCB preemptive revisions without a side by side comparison, for the public to view, of the proposed statewide standards established by AB 885. With the efforts by the SWRCB well underway, consistency and analysis is a key concern, and an EIR process required to provide guidance for local agencies, such as the RWQCB, and information for the public.
How does Water Code 13291 (a) differs from (AB 885 )? And which is being used in formulating the amendments and triwnial review process? AB 885 requires: The adoption of statewide standards or regulations for existing, construction, and performance of onsite sewage disposal systems by the State Water Resources Control Board by January 1, 2004. The standards to apply to any onsite sewage disposal system that:
is constructed or replaced on or after July 1, 2004 (or six months after the adoption date of the regulations, whichever is sooner)
is subject to a major repair
pools or discharges to the surface of the ground
in the judgment of the Regional Water Quality Control Board or the authorized agency has the reasonable potential to cause a violation of water quality objectives, to impair present or future beneficial uses of water, to cause pollution, nuisance, or contamination of waters of the state.
The provision of financial assistance to assist private property owners with existing systems whose cost of compliance with these regulations exceeds one-half of one percent of the value of their property.

Amendments are Fiscally Irresponsible: To promulgate regulatory requirements, and consequences, without full knowledge of what, why, and how they will be implemented has high likelihood of wasting taxpayer monies, and fails to hold public agencies, such as the RWQCB accountable. A stepped approach to revisions preserves resources and targets the problems, and provides measurable results.
What is the estimated cost for program compliance?
How many of the affected property owners will be eligible for financial assistance?
Will the RWQCB make financial assistance available through requests to the SWRCB?
Is funding currently available for this purpose?
How much funding is available for assistance?
How much funding is the RWQCBN receiving for development of onsite standards in region 3?
Evaluate and Disclose Property Owners Costs NOW: Quoting from the AB 885 scoping report:
"Compliance costs versus the environmental benefit should be evaluated; a cost/benefit analysis is needed on a regional basis, not just from a statewide perspective".

The regulations do not address the legislative intent of AB 885 with respect to assisting private property owners with funding assistance.
Quantify the increased costs for homeowners
Quantify the increased costs for agencies
The 303(d) provisions will force people with existing systems from their homes. In many cases there is no suitable area to install systems that meet the dispersal system area requirements, even with supplemental treatment (e.g., Malibu, Russian River).
13291.5. It is the intent of the Legislature to assist private property owners with existing systems who incur costs as a result of the implementation of the regulations established under this section by encouraging the state board to make loans under Chapter 6.5 (commencing with Section 13475) to local agencies to assist private property owners whose cost of compliance with these regulations exceeds one-half of one percent of the current assessed value of the property on which the onsite sewage system is located.
Has affordability been considered and an analysis conducted?
How many private property owners are eligible for assistance, and how will be assisted?

Unintended Consequences: Los Osos is a real world example of unintended consequences, and excessive regulatory costs that resulted from the misunderstood and unchallenged water board resolutions 83-12 and 83-13. That 83-13 was developed, seeking to purposely ignore resolution 83-12, it sacrificed opportunities for onsite management altogether. This was in violation of Ca Water Code, but "strongly encouraged" by the RWQCB. Resolution 83-13 sought funding for a centralized treatment plant, replacing onsite, and resulted in degradation to water quality. Further, 83-13 blatantly violated SWRCB resolution 68-16 (Antidegradation) with SWRCB approval of the provision of 1150 additional housing units and established a prohibition zone. Further discussion of 83-13 is probably not helpful, but suffice it to say that the often dire and costly unintended consequences of resolutions and amendments must be acknowledged.
Efforts for Voluntary Compliance: The justification for the resolutions and amendments is to make voluntary programs that have not been instituted now mandatory. Los Osos records (over the last 5 years) show that unlike the government predecessor, San Luis Obispo County, Los Osos was one of the best recent examples of a community development of onsite management plans instituted on a voluntary basis.

The record also show that in 2004-08 the LOCSD worked toward offering work-plans and assistance in updating and strengthen the onsite regulations in Los Osos voluntarily, and in lieu of the adverse punishment.(ACL fines the CDO's and settlement CAO's). These sincere efforts, based on RWQCB report and proposed actions to amend the basin plan would result in actual water quality protection and improvements, but were repeatedly rejected. [emphasis not in original; added by Ann]

Santa Cruz County successfully avoided a building moratorium and punitive enforcement through the use of onsite management in 1986. Funding and adoption of the wastewater plan in 1994 certainly differs from the Los Osos example of "regulations gone wrong." Unfortunately, all efforts from the community’s property owners and the Los Osos Community Services District to work cooperatively with Water Board Staff have been thwarted to date. We are hopeful this can change in the near future. However, the amendments and resolutions will not assist in providing a fair and consistent program for Los Osos, and the prohibition zone with all its failures will remain. Please explain:
How will Conditional Waivers Affect Los Osos:
Will waivers be applied in Los Osos outside the probation zone?
Under what circumstances will waivers be applied inside the prohibition zone?
What is the cost for the WDR, monitoring, and reports?
What is the estimated program costs estimated for the local agency?
Is the Co or the LOCSD to administer the mandatory program?

Citizens for Clean Water opposes this segmented and shotgun approach to water shed protection. As stated, the timing of the amendments and resolutions with the pending lawsuit (CV 070472) makes such amendments to WQCP suspect. It is the existing Basin Plan resolutions that have been used to justify imposition of harsh individual enforcement, and violated constitutional protections, yet these are now being replaced. There is no reason for private property owners to believe that they will be treated differently than Los Osos, under the proposed amendments. The changes to replace and strengthen resolution 83-12 appear to be no more than subterfuge for the ill-founded Los Osos enforcement at best, or added power over others in the region without adequate justification. I ask the board to question the staff motives. Based upon the lack of statutorily required application of criteria for assessing economic impacts, environmental justice, current science, hard facts and sound analysis requires a process restart at a minimum.
The central coast is largely rural and onsite treatment systems and their contribution to pollution from failing systems are simply unknown at this time. The local programs are expected to supply such data for the RWQCB. However, it is well known that onsite contributes a very small percentage of the total non point source pollutant loadings, and proportional responsibility poses an unfair burden on private property owners.

Management programs to assist in quantifying impacts are an estimable effort, but other elements of the amendments are premature to impose on property owners without first providing impact information to affected parties.

Citizens for Clean Water recommends that the staff develop a stakeholders program that is convened to reviews current policies, criteria, and implementation plans. Current voluntary efforts should be reviewed and further action encouraged. Funding should be sought by the RWQCB to provide the assistance to local agencies and private property owners, as this is the major reason for inaction by local agencies.

The intent is increase the knowledge and understanding of impacts from onsite treatment systems, to improve protection of water quality based on this information, yet the amendments contain unintended consequences, and lack any third party review. By postponing adoption of the amended basin plan and resolutions, and using the staff’s efforts to date to bring together the true stakeholders, (property owners with septic systems) in a working group forum will provide a fully vetted process, with necessary changes, based on fully defined program goals.

It is disingenuous to imply onsite systems causes widespread pollution, or that this effort is urgent, or to propose that onsite owners shoulder the largest portion of the costly burden of non point source programs and water shed monitoring through their local agencies. If local agencies are to assume the entire burden for non-point source pollution monitoring and control, the SWRCB must provide comprehensive programs that assess costs fairly and programs that cross jurisdictions, and provide the necessary funding as well.

Only through a truly public process (properly noticed and informed public participants) will a credible water shed protection program emerge. By proceeding in a thoughtful and deliberative approach, with provisions for regional oversight and accountability can prevent wasteful expenditures, and abuses of the public process.

Referenced Documents
EPA Handbook for Managing Onsite and Clusterd Wastewater Treatment Systems, NO 832-B-05-001 December 2005
Voluntary National Guidelines for Management of Onsite and Clustered (Decentralized) wastewater Treatment Systems, March 2003
Onsite Sewage Treatment In California and the Progression Toward Statewide Standards, Chico Research Foundation, June 2004
National Decentralized Water Resources Capacity Development Project, Lombardo Associates, Aug 2004
Proposed regulations to add to CCR Title 27, Division 2, subdivision 1 Chapter 7. Onsite WWTS Article 1. Definitions -22900
WQCP Triennial Review Priority List, Dec. 7, 2001 and attachment A proposed and final issues lists
AB885 Status discussion
AB 885 project Scoping report, and Summary of Comments SWRCB Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Regulations, Oct. 2005
Chico Onsite Management Plan
NOWRA White Paper on the Ca Onsite Rules under AB 885,May 5, 2004
LOCSD Septic Management Plan, July 2003-2006
LOCSD Voluntary Onsite Program 2004
LOCSD Onsite SMMP resolutions, LOCSD onsite work plan in lieu of enforcement, Oct. 2006
LOCSD WWAC Onsite Management plan draft
Web sites:

Other Suggested References:
Arenovski, A. L. and F. C. Shephard. 1996. A Massachusetts Guide to Needs Assessment and Evaluation of Decentralized Wastewater Treatment Alternatives. Marine Studies Consortium & Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.
Bounds, T. R. 2001. "Management of Decentralized and Onsite Wastewater Systems," Proceeding of the Ninth National Symposium on Individual and Small Community Sewage Systems. ASAE.
California Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (CCDEH). 1992. Model Onsite Sewage Disposal Code. CCDEH Technical Advisory Committee, Sacramento, CA.
CCDEH. 1998. Guidelines For The Design, Installation, And Operation Of Mound Sewage Disposal Systems. CCDEH Technical Advisory Committee, Sacramento, CA.
California Environmental Quality Act (Public Resources Code §21000 et seq.), Div 13, Environmental Protection.
California State University, Chico. 1999. Final Draft Model Ordinance for Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems. Model Ordinance Committee. California State University, Chico, CA.
California State Water Resources Control Board. 1977. Rural Wastewater Disposal Alternatives—Final Report—Phase 1. The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Office of Appropriate Technology, Sacramento, CA.
California State Water Resources Control Board. 1980. Guidelines for the Design, Installation, and Operation of Mound Sewage Disposal Systems. State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento, CA.
California State Water Resources Control Board. 1980. Guidelines for the Design, Installation, and Operation of Evapotranspiration Systems. State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento, CA.
California State Water Resources Control Board. 1994. Report Of The Technical Advisory Committee For Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems, November 1994. State Water Resources Control Board, Sacramento, CA.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ding! Ding! Ding! Wake Up Call For Santa Margaritaville!

Put down that drink and click over to Ron Crawford's blog at With the County BOS due to discuss the new RWQCB Stealth Onsite Update on Tuesday, Ron's in hog heaven. He just posted one entry in what will, I suspect, be an ongoing Saga entitled, "Santa Maria, If All Goes Well, in "Three to Six Months" You Will be Los Osos. " Ah, Los Ososology, redux, and Ron right there in the middle of it. The Los Osos 45 will soon have company. LOTS of company. Bwa-hahahahahah.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Steve Paige Checks In On The Stealth Onsite Update

Below, printed with permission, is Steve Paige’s “public comment” on the RWQCB’s stealth basin plan update. Followed by a response by Julie Tacker to my 4/17 posting on the April 22 BOS item regarding Los Osos retrofit program. Apparently Julie takes exception to my comment that you can’t get MORE water out of NO water, which I noted, “becomes especially acute if you keep allowing development outside the PZ” In short, you can retrofit all you want but at some point, if you keep adding people, you simply run out of water. Unless you mean to import more, from somewhere? Julie’s partner is Jeff Edwards, a developer who’s a strong supporter of retrofitting, which thereby allows for. . . . . more. development. As for the retrofit program itself, I say, should have been done years ago, like all things Los Ososian. But if I’m not mistaken, didn’t LOCAC advise the county to stop issuing building permits outside the PZ until such time as an accurate evaluation of what water’s actually here and can be used can be determined? Let’s hope someone from LOCAC is there on the 22nd to raise that issue?

Well, lots to read here. Keep the Sewerites busy over the weekend. Fire up your computers!

Mr. Paige’s comments:

Jerry Brown, Attorney General
Attorney General's Office California
P.O. Box 944255 Sacramento,
CA 94244-2550
Department of Justice Attn: CEQA EXEMPTION COMPLAINT

Summary: Preemptory complaint to Attorney General to insure oversight of actions by the RWQCB3 to comply with GHG mitigation and Environmental Justice narrative guidelines in their environmental analysis for CEQA exemption in Proposed Amendment to the Water Quality Control Plan, Central Coast Basin, Resolution No. R3-2008-00005, Revising Criteria for Onsite Wastewater Systems. (See 22 page personal declaration.)

Dear Attorney General Brown and Staff,

Please read my complaint filed with the RWQCB3 for advanced energy and greenhouse gas mitigation that has been ignored by them. I have proposed the use of advanced methods of source separation of urine and feces using Swedish sequestering toilets and recycling the urine nitrogen into carbon sink forests. I received permitting for source separation as a voluntary mitigation on my property but was ignored when I asked for a Porter Cologne 13269 waiver and cooperation to start a SEP (EXHIBIT 4) program to remove the stigma of CDO’s and potential fines from my property and others in the same financial predicament in the Los Osos prohibition zone.
I surely could use your help. As you are aware under CEQA law the Water Board is supposed to inform the State Secretary, and OPR of any generic substantial form of alternative mitigation. The mitigations I have proposed to your office with this certified mailing early in the CEQA process will surely benefit the residents of the State of California especially farmers and families on septic systems. If your office could assume the role of third party mediator to ripen my claim for Declaratory Relief, your presence would assure advocacy for energy conserving, N recycling source separation and give this infant industry a leg up, if you pardon the pun. Source separation is already well advanced in Europe (EXHIBIT 6). My personal declaration will outline what my beef is and give you insight into the EJ issues associated with Los Osos. I will keep your office up to date as to my CEQA challenge.
I am senior, and sustainability advocate, I have been building passive Solar homes since 1976 in San Luis Obispo County. I am on the Los Osos Community Advisory Council-Land Use Committee and a member of the SLO GreenBuild Alternative Technology Technical Committee. I feel without balanced Porter Cologne enforcement and inclusion of all Nitrogen mitigation options, there can be no realistic critical path energy modeling for the Los Osos Nitrogen mitigation. The State will be stuck with the energy and water impacts of a stacked deck enforcement policy that ignores energy consumption and unnecessary resource expenditures.

Steve Paige General Contractor
Los Osos California 93402
[email, phone address etc. redacted by Ann]l

And Steve’s more complete comments:

CEQA Complaint, Steven Paige

I make the following statements related to my personal experience with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board related to my home at [redacted by Ann] My statements and claims are meant to rectify the RWQCB’s EIR exemption flaws regarding on site wastewater systems addressed in Resolution R3-2008-0005 in general and specifically Attachment D. My statements and claims also affect DOES, like kind low income homeowners, and septic system owners in the County of San Luis Obispo, and owners of septic systems in the “Prohibition Zone” of the Los Osos water basin.
I complain that the Regional Water Quality Control Board Zone Three Staff DOES X through XX hereafter called the RWQCB3 have made errors and omissions in attachment D and omitted information from the State Secretary and Office of Public Records of the State of California. It is vital information relating to Nitrogen mitigation for septic systems based on a generic process of energy efficient, low energy footprint, low GHG, source separation of urine and
feces as an improved mitigation to satisfying order 83-13 relating to nitrogen
removal from wastewater in the Los Osos Prohibition Zone. This also relates to septics outside the Prohibition Zone but in the Los Osos groundwater basin, and area within the groundwater basin circling the prohibition zone where no mitigation is required. Any claims I make towards advancing the generic mitigation of source separation would apply to any septic system in the County of San Luis Obispo as it directly relates to the RWQCB3 basin plan changes for septic systems proposed by them in R3-2008-0005 also.


I complain that the California Environmental Quality Act Substitute Environmental Document Report for Basin Plan Amendment Regarding On site Wastewater Systems (Resolution No. R3-2008-0005) does not meet CEQA requirements for Environmental Justice documentation. The RWQCB3 is responsible for proving to the State Secretary evidence of compliance to Public Resources Code sections 71110, 71111, 71112, and 71113, etc. It has not included Environmental Justice mitigations in its CEQA substitute environmental document “R3-2008-0005 Attachment D” related to the Prohibition zone.
I and others of my like predicament are suffering financial discrimination which is to be avoided as described in above PRC Code where the RWQCB3 is directed by State EPA to:
1) “Conduct our programs, policies, and activities that substantially affect
human health or the environment in a manner that ensures the fair
treatment of people of all races, cultures, and income levels, including
minority populations and low-income populations of the state.”

When I purchased my home in Los Osos in 2003 I was given in my packet of purchasing materials a copy of the “Los Osos Building Moratorium” EXHIBIT 1, a general prohibition from discharging more pollutants controlled by my not being able to add bedrooms or plumbing fixtures on to my house. I am a low income homeowner as evidenced by my historic social security records EXHIBIT 2. I considered this limitation EXHIBIT 1 fair to me and not too excessive a financial burden as a new homeowner in the prohibition zone as the economic impact was known to me and I could live with my house the way it was. I wanted to further contribute to bettering the groundwater quality and voluntarily submitted a plan to the San Luis Obisbo County planning dept to remove nitrogen contamination form my waste stream by 75% to 85% by sequestering urine in a tank and installing a urine toilet to remove the pollutant mentioned in RWQCB3 Order 83-13. I did so by County Permit and Waterboard approval of plans for source separation of urine from feces construction project on my small 25 by 125 foot lot as (seen in plans and all related documents: EXHIBIT 3). After six months of use, on February 25, 2007, I showed the RWQCB3 my pumping and haulage tickets and septic system pumping proof, I requested a Porter Cologne.13269 waiver by certified letter and modified Settlement Agreement EXHIBIT 4. This was before receiving my notice of violation letter EXHIBIT 5 March 21, 2007. I was sent the March 21,2007 letter totally ignoring my environmental mitigation request requiring that my property have ‘zero discharge’ in 2011 or even earlier in 2008. It was as if I had done nothing at all. I did not receive the “fair treatment” mentioned in public resources code for my source separation request that involved PC13269 waiver. My request for financial assistance was also ignored twice. Not only did I receive any cooperation, I received no communication at all justifying my above claim for complete approval of my agreement sent as a condition of the resource handling project.
My urine separation documentation was reviewed by, County Health, County planning, and Harvey Packard RWQCB3 staff and all parties approved the system. I Claim the RWQCB3 does not qualify for exemption from the CEQA process until it presents the full environmental mitigation of source separation of urine and its social and financial impacts for low income homeowners in the prohibition zone, outside the Prohibition Zone but in the Los Osos Groundwater basin, and in the County of San Luis Obispo entirely. By ignoring my request for waiver and SEP program request for paperwork, the RWQCB3 staff hindered the Prohibition Zone community from removing 75 to 80 percent of the Nitrogen in their waste stream per site voluntarily purely for the peace of mind of not facing a CDO. By not presenting to the OPR the inherent energy efficiency and advanced resource management that ‘Source Separation’ of Urine represents, the RWQCB3 has misrepresented its claim for CEQA exemption.

It is an entirely new method of compliance in this County but has been studied in Europe for many years. The ’State of the Art’ of Source Separation in Europe is well advanced as is shown in EXHIBIT 6. The most important study in the group of documents in EXHIBIT 6 is the 78% acceptability of human waste source separation using dual bowl toilets in Europe. Because of the advanced beneficial aspects of source separation relating to water conservation, energy conservation, urine to fertilizer economic regionalism, ESHA impacts, CEQA impacts, and social sustainability, I have sent this complaint to the State Secretary of the EPA, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and OPR preemptively to make them aware of the RWQCB3 staff’s oversight. The County of San Luis Obispo has already agreed to review source separation in the LOWWP EIR and to compare it to other methods of basin nitrogen removal. And San Luis Obisbo GreenBuild Alternative Technology Technical Committee with help and input from Surfrider Foundation and the Sierra Club has agreed to evaluate it energetically with peer review.


But before a basin wide source separation program can even be evaluated stakeholders must re-evaluate the prohibition zone model of enforcement because it does not meet Environmental Justice narrative standards. The prohibition zone enforcement model stymies modeling efficient energy solutions with low CO2 footprints for the total groundwater basin. The Prohibition Zone delineation is inherently discriminatory and stands out as a test case for environmental justice narrative Law. It divides equal residential polluters in two classes, lesser property owners and larger property owners where economic discrimination and racial discrimination directly relate to property size as is noted in the LOCSD study and US census data attached EXHIBIT 7. The present basin plan update continues to allow unmitigated pollution outside the prohibition zone. Buried within the proposed basin plan changes are assumed prohibition zone requirements for a continued unscientific ‘zero discharge order’ within the economically disadvantaged prohibition zone area. I claim as fact that it is unfair treatment of the prohibition zone population relating to economic and racial data where the RWQCB3 is required by public resources code environmental justice law to:

2) “ Promote enforcement of all health and environmental statutes within our
jurisdiction in a manner that ensures the fair treatment of people of all
races, cultures, and income levels, including minority populations and
low-income populations of the state.”

The RWQCB staff has not included a discussion and mitigation of this oversight of environmental law in the present CEQA exemption and the exemption is incomplete without mitigation of this issue. Further it is necessary to prevent skewing of the energetic analysis of least GHG impact solutions. Skewed enforcement of a select population condemns the State to over budgeting energy consumption to remove nitrogen when solutions like source separation, STEG cluster systems, and on site secondary treatment can do so with an energy footprint far less than a community sewer. All residential polluters in the Los Osos groundwater basin are identical polluters as described by the RWQCB3, all discharging 375 gallons a day with a nitrogen content of waste being approx. 45mg/l. Regardless of property size this is a fact.
Looking at the level of Nitrogen discharge from homes outside the prohibition zone but in the groundwater basin you would empirically multiply 375 gal./day X 1700 Homes X .045 grams/liter X 4 Liters/gallon = 114,750 grams of nitrogen per day. This discharge is exempted, untreated and unmitigated. For the discharge of pollutants from 5000 properties inside the prohibition zone after the sewer is built, you multiply 1.2 Million gallons per day X .007 Grams/liter (Tri-W discharge permit) X 4 liters/gallon = 33,600 grams/day of remaining pollution going into the water basin at a cost of $2400.00 to $3000.00 a year per parcel. The dotted line on the map prepared by a previous scientific study on the basin boundaries in EXHIBIT 8 shows the water basin edge. Many properties are outside the Prohibition zone but inside the groundwater basin?
Extrapolating from the two above calculations, after the sewer is built, 20 percent of the homes in the water basin will be discharging 70 percent of the Nitrogen pollution and paying nothing for mitigation. The homeowner’s outside the Prohibition zone only requirement for exemption was that owners had more money or credit to by a larger piece of land to begin with, they pollute identically. The RWQCB3 staff has ignored any substantive discussion, or use of “precautionary procedures” required by the State in its narrative of Environmental Justice compliance in their CEQA exemption request. The prohibition zone enforcement edicts should have been reviewed long before now for Environmental Justice compliance and adherence to the “precautionary principal” mandated by State EPA. EXHIBIT 9. Now it is critical time that they do so because the present pattern of enforcement by the RWQCB staff in keeping intact the Prohibition Zone model and narrative “zero discharge” moratorium severely limits Greenhouse Gas mitigation and related energy consumption mitigation by limiting proper energetic modeling of all potential methods of pollutant removal throughout the whole groundwater basin. The RWQCB3 staff negligence of Environmental Justice skews any honest scientific environmental modeling to choose the least energetic solution that will meet AB32 GHG mandates. Even though there are presently over six large discharge permits in the basin with varying amounts of Nitrogen allowed, the RWQCB continues with the environmentally suspect “zero discharge order “ in the PZ against a ethnically mixed poorer population. Added to the Environmental Justice litmus test is AB 32 Global warming 31662 Section(B) (2) & (6) mandates that the RWQCB3 consider a parallel precaution in the implementation of the Porter Cologne Act and its impacts on GHG mitigation. AB32 admonishes that the RWQCB3 to:

“ Ensure that activities undertaken to comply with the (GHG) regulations do not disproportionately impact low-income communities.”
“(6) Consider overall societal benefits, including reductions in other air pollutants, diversification of energy sources, and other benefits to the economy, environment, and public health”.

By mandating the prohibition zone and narrative “zero discharge” order the RWQCB3 staff has limited mitigation of the energy component of the nitrogen removal solution for the LO groundwater basin. The County FSR states in their variety of plans for N removal that energy consumption will not be less than 1 million KWH per year causing 700 Tons of CO2 a year to operate. There are more elegant energy solutions but the narrative and impressionistic prohibition zone orders prevent their discussion. The RWQCB3 is further adding to the economic burden of an already discriminated against population by not adhering to the above AB32 sections. Continuing with the existing enforcement orders will economically “impact low-income communities” by causing excessive energy use not necessary to remove the nitrogen directly in conflict with AB 32 Global warming 31662 Section(B) (2) & (6) mandates. The RWQCB3 by its present enforcement policy, adds the further avoidable impacts of groundwater draws and archeological impacts both of which are unstudied and unmitigated. Any claim that there is no other legitimate way to clean up the water basin other than a typical community sewer is the RWQCB3 self fulfilling prophecy out of step with contemporary environmental law. It is out of step with future energy realities that are even recognized by the State Water Resources Control Board and Federal EPA. Many nitrogen reducing solutions are being left off the table by the RWQCB3’s environmentally outdated enforcement policies. For example, source separation represented and approved on my property by the RWQCB3 is related to European advancements in component recycling of waste. If you looked at the energetic and nitrogen removing potential of source separation applied to all basin residential waste dischargers equally (which you can’t because of the prohibition zone model) utilizing a SS/STMP/Retrofit program you would remove an identical amount or more nitrogen from the basin wide residential waste stream than when compared to the 700 ton GHG/Yr. footprint of the LOWWP Community sewer. Source separation offers the same basin protection but with the added benefit of conserving ground water in the amount of 102,000 gallons a day basin wide and having no ESHA and few CEQA impacts because there is no in ground waste handling infrastructure off site. If well designed, a source separation maintenance plan could have a near zero net energy balance and have only positive impacts on basin groundwater balance. Sources of energy consumption like twice a year urine harvesting and basin wide composting from septics would be offset by carbon sequestering biomass development, like the attached proposed carbon sink forests EXHIBIT 10 utilizing the urine-to-fertilizer environmental loop to grow marketable timber.
The urea polishing takes 1/50 the energy of Natural Gas intensive N fertilizer production. The IEA claims that Nitrogen fertilizer uses 475 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas a year to produce crop fertilizer in the USA. All heat related food processing Nationwide uses 575 quadrillion cubic feet per year. Urine decontamination and constituent recycling would create natural gas energy savings by closing the resource loop from urine to N fertilizer. Source separation has been studied in Europe for over 25 years and is presently being implemented in areas of Sweden. The energy footprint of source separation, STMP, retrofit program would be less than 20% what the Counties estimate for energy consumption in their proposed projects for N removal and water reclamation in the FSR.
Calculating the remaining nitrogen balance in the basin using a combination of source sequestering, Septic tank Management, and a coupled retrofit program, the remaining basin Nitrogen discharge for such a program is almost identical to the Community gravity sewer in the PZ with minimal environmental risks and no economic dislocation of property owners.
Calculating for the whole basin, 375 gpd X 6700 Homes basin wide X 0.25 N remaining in functioning septics (the rest is in the urine) X .045 grams/liter X 4 liters/gallon = 113,062 grams/day. This figure is even less than the allowed discharges for unmitigated septic systems outside the PZ but within the basin? As a blended retrofit program, source separation ‘creates’ 102,000 gallons a day of banked deep aquifer groundwater by one cup per flush urine bowl toilet flushing in dual flush dual bowl toilets EXHIBIT 6. Present groundwater recharge would be through existing septics after 80% of the Nitrogen had been removed from the household discharge by front end behavioral modification. Validating source separation would enhance regional agricultural economies and omit the stigma to farmers of piping treated reclaimed water to their properties as a long term commitment. Recycled urea fertilizer use would mimic the present system of liquid fertilizer application without any contracts or property binding commitments. The collapse of natural gas supplies from Canada and Mexico eminent over the next twenty five years as shown in EIA graph enclosed in EXHIBIT 11. , will increase spot shortages of nitrogen fertilizer. Regional fertilizer from source separation may be the only fertilizer available for Los Osos Valley farmers at an acceptable cost. Source separation could have a 60 to 100 year life cycle if designed properly.
So if source separation is shown on a community and regional scale to be more environmentally compliant and cost efficient, the present changes to the basin plan must include the generic process. Source separation out performs many alternative systems and can also be used in conjunction with them for an added environmental advantage. Source separation should not languish as an alternative system waiting for approval in a planning document years away that the County will create as outlined in the Basin Plan update. It should be legitimized immediately, by waivers and RWQCB3 SEP programs. It is a behavioral method of removing nitrogen and then not discharging it to the impacted basin through the existing septic systems. It is the front end removal of Nitrogen before it enters the septic system that represents advanced Nitrogen mitigation for San Luis Obispo County that the county could use as a resource. Support of the infant source separation recycle industry is a potential long term sustainability commitment by Cal EPA.


The parallel mandates of the zero discharge order in 2011 and AB32 GHG timeline for mitigation are entirely incompatible environmentally. How do you ship 1.5 million gallons out of the water basin a day and still meet APCD GHG requirements and smog rules in 2011? The RWQCB3 staff has not even contacted the APCD about the issue. Further there has been no analysis of the impacts of drastically overdrafting the basin if the zero discharge order is implemented. The Waterboard has failed to promulgate other realistic solutions. Residential holding tanks only simply cannot be done without massive drafts to the groundwater basin. And that is why I consider the zero discharge order out of step with ongoing validation of changing CEQA requirements that are more holistic and sustainable.
In the least, to eliminate the Prohibition Zone boundaries, homeowners should be allowed proportional discharge on smaller lots related to one acre so the whole basin would have the equivalent discharge of one acre homes that the basin plan allows. I claim that proportional discharge related to lot area on my small lot is consistent with the revised basin plan update as outlined in my Waiver agreement and Community plan letter to the RWQCB3 relating to voluntary nitrogen reduction. Since the RWQCB3 never reviewed my certified mail request, or they did and chose to ignore it, then they have not met Environmental Justice Public Resources code to:

“3) Ensure greater public participation in the agency’s development,
adoption, and implementation of environmental regulations and policies.”

In all, I consider the present environmental justice implementation in the Los Osos water basin out of balance, based on isolated enforcement by the RWQCB3 to dictate specific solutions for nitrogen removal in the Los Osos groundwater basin without any regard to Environmental Justice mandates, energy consumption, GHG production, ESHA impacts, or archeological impacts.

It is a fact that the RWQCB3 has not met California Environmental Quality Act California Public Resources Code 21003.1. The RWQCB3 has omitted from its documentation adverse environmental effects of substantive changes in enforcement of Order 83-13. The change in enforcement mentioned is the change between a general building moratorium EXHIBIT 1 covered and validated by historic MOU’s with the County of San Luis Obispo EXHIBIT 12 and the zero discharge order which has no MOU’s or enforcement policy because it is environmentally unsound, discriminatory, and impossible to administrate. The environmental impacts of this change in enforcement have never been addressed to the State Secretary or OPR yet the RWQCB3 staff continues to claim exemption. Nor has the environmental mitigation of source separation been compared to the environmental impacts of the zero discharge order. The ZDO could be enforced this year if the County votes not to assume the sewer project which further opens the State to substantive legal challenges related to CEQA exemptions and AB32 compliance all of which are avoidable.


The RWQCB3 has failed to inform the State Secretary and Office of Planning and Research of mitigation measures I have applied for relating to my property with the RWQCB3’s approval that substantially mitigates the environmental impacts of the zero discharge order. California Public Resources Code 21003.1. States that the RWQCB3 shall supply the State Secretary and OPR with:

“(b) Information relevant to the significant effects of a project, alternatives,
and mitigation measures which substantially reduce the effects shall be made
available as soon as possible by lead agencies, other public agencies,”

The RWQCB3 staff has limited discussion of CEQA compliance by not supplying the State Secretary and OPR with my documentation which I submitted. In addition, the RWQCB3 staff also required a deed restriction, and tracking system for urine removal from the water basin EXHIBIT 3. Instead of receiving any credit for my 2500 dollar investment or any acknowledgment of what I needed to do the receive my PC13269 Waiver, I received the same form letter as everyone else in the Prohibition Zone did. EXHIBIT 5.
The RWQCB3 Staff showed no contractual good faith as outlined in their Supplemental agreement contract EXHIBIT 13 that was proposed by the RWQCB staff for the PZ community in its entirety and posted on their web sight. Their contractual agreement was written to accommodate alterations in the agreement like my PC 13269 TEMPORARY 5 YEAR WAIVER for source separation. EXHIBIT 3 as well as other solutions.
By not acknowledging in any form or way my submission for my P.C. 13269 waiver and by not creating a M.O.U. between agencies for urine sequestration, the RWQCB3 robbed me and all septic system utilizing landowners at large, of peace of mind, and reduced jointly in Los Osos our property evaluation EXHIBIT 14. The RWQCB3 staff has caused my property devaluation by allowing threat of fines against my property without following due process under California Government Code Section 65941.5. The Code so states:

“Not later than 30 days after a land use or land division application is received, the Agency must notify the project applicant or designated representative in writing either that the application is complete, or that items are necessary to complete the application. If you are not notified in writing, the application is considered complete.”

Harvey Packard RWQCB Prosecution team claimed in a written correspondence to me that the RWQCB3 was subject to Section 65941.5 of Government Code EXHIBIT 15. Had the RWQCB3 followed the letter of the law they would have avoided continuing nitrogen contamination from properties that desired to cooperate and source separate urine. I consider source separation a right of all homeowners in the Los Osos Prohibition zone as a method of temporary or long term compliance to Nitrogen contamination. I warned the RWQCB3 of problems related to a class action suit in the narrative and illogical zero discharge order in my cover letter to them that accompanied my Waiver agreement. I pointed out how giving me a waiver it would help overcome the RWQCB3’s administration error by allowing ‘proportional discharge’ for source separator’s within the prohibition zone which would remove the issue of regulatory takings and which would help equivocate economic impacts related to compliance and come nearer to EJ guidelines. Instead my actions were met with administrative silence.

In my mind the largest CEQA issue rests with ignoring the energy component of source sequestering. Source separation is the most energy efficient method to eliminate Nitrogen from the water basin that I have found as I have outlined in “MAKING LOS OSOS A POST CARBON CITY” EXHIBIT 16 submitted to the County of San Luis Obispo EIR process for the LOWWP where I outlined the benefits of Community wide voluntary source separation coupled with a Septic Tank Management Plan and retrofit program. The Environmental mitigation using community source separation is way too large to be ignored. The benefits would include:

75% to 80% Nitrogen removal of all basin discharges.
Total per day waste handling lowers to 20,000 Gallons instead of 1.3 million gallons using 5% or less energy to handle the waste stream.
Emerging micro-contaminants and endocrine inhibitors are more removable using less energy being concentrated in urine and not mixed with millions of gallons of raw waste.
Local plumbers and contractors keep implementation money in the local economy, stimulating the local economy. Supports economic and environmental regionalism with farmers and local contractors.
Potential for zero net Green House CO2 production compared to 750 tons CO2 for the County LOWWP.
Protects sacred Indian burial grounds from decimation by pipeline trenching. All digging can be done by hand onsite limiting landscaping impacts, 95% reduced Archeological impacts.
No ESHA impacts for infrastructure construction, spillage or exfiltration.
No potential for power failure induced spills like the recent CMC spill.
No on site energy consumption.
No I & I leakage or pipe failures due to earthquakes or liquefaction.
Water handling reduced by a scale of 1000 percent.
Proven continuation of the existing Los Osos groundwater balance using zero energy septic discharge with 80% of the Nitrogen removed.
No streets torn up, dewatering, air pollution or resources used to build or repair infrastructure.
Energy consumption of the Urea handling truck fleet (3 to 4) is equal to a gravity sewer maintenance fleet in CO2 emissions. Trucks are smaller and could be LPG or methane powered to reduce air pollution. No standby motor idling and small electric pumps could be used to reduce air pollution when on site for urine pumping only. Urine is picked up every six months or by electronic signal from the holding tank.
Local farmers avoid Nitrogen fertilizer shortages that are expected to expand byproduct acceptability.
Meets AB32 GHG 2020 standards in 2012 because system uses existing 1990 primary onsite septic treatment.
Biomass CO2 fed by decontaminated urine creates wealth in terms of carbon credits and marketable raw materials.
The program has a 100 year + extensive life cycle hardened from energy depletion. Wastewater energy failure standby time: STEP- 1day, Gravity -20 min., Sequestering - ½ year
SEQ./STMP/RETROFIT system engages small scale low CO2 footprint human labor in the treatment process limiting energy sinks.
Ultra conservation of remaining groundwater does not negatively impact the recovery system in any way.
102,000 gallons a day basin wide water savings from sequestering toilets. Helps eliminate the present basin overdraft at zero energy cost.
Retrofit conservation, pollution abatement, and septic tank monitoring are simplified into the same simple energy efficient program.

By officially ignoring generic groundbreaking solutions on an individual level, the RWQCB3 has caused me and others on septics economic hardship, and in my case, raised the scepter of potential personal injury by ignoring contractual and legal obligations that I have raised to legitimize source separation.

On a community level, the RWQCB3 staff actions towards source separation have harmed all residents of the State by not promulgating energy efficiency, social sustainability, financial sustainability, environmental justice narrative compliance and energy conservation inherent in urine sequestration and its potential reprocessing and recycling urine components. RWQCB3 staff has also withheld from the State Secretary this vital environmental information thus negating their claim for CEQA exemption. RWQCB3 staff was given many European studies and validations of the nitrogen recycling systems. EXHIBIT 6


The present Environmental Checklist EXHIBIT 17 prepared by the RWQCB3 staff submitted to the public perpetuate the same historic lack of environmental review. The RWQCB3’s non-communication with other agencies, like the APCD burdens the State with further environmental impacts in meeting requirements of State environmental law like the APCD and Cal EPA’s required mitigation for AB32 GHG reduction. If the State Secretary and OPR allow this level of environmental evaluation to continue then low income, middle income, and minority homeowners in the prohibition zone will be further burdened with unfair excessive costs and further environmental impacts that are omitted from the basin plan changes in the Substitute Environmental Document Report for Basin Plan Amendment Regarding On site Wastewater Systems (Resolution No. R3-2008-0005) that is now up for review.


My grievances arise out of a contractual dispute, a Porter Cologne Waiver as described in Section 13269 of the Porter-Cologne Act. No mention is made of facility size or financial threshold in Porter-Cologne. The RWQCB3 staff is irrational, they treat my discharge the same as a larger facility while ignoring my legal requests for treatment alternatives that larger facilities enjoy. The RWQCB3 2007 Settlement Agreement document is a standing contractual agreement presented to all residence of the prohibition zone and specifically the 45 CDO recipients by the RWQCB3. I have offered an environmentally friendly way to bring the 45 recipients into 80% compliance that was verifiable and comparable in nitrogen reduction in the approved discharge order of the defunct Tri-W sewer project EXHIBIT 18. That if these contractual issues are not resolved between prohibition zone owners like myself and the RWQCB staff, then their actions would continue to represent financial discrimination that has resulted in financially defrauding me and others like me willing to source separate. We have been deprived of real estate equity by increased taxation and had our property values decreased when compared to neighboring costal communities by 100,000 dollars EXHIBIT 19. Our titles are further clouded by the RWQCB3 staff making claims about retroactive fines against our properties that are based upon orders containing historical oversights of CEQA requirements and maintenance for septics timelines mentioned in Order 83-12 that are only now being addressed twenty years later.
With over 20 existing home foreclosures in Los Osos and 75 standing tax liens EXHIBIT 20 environmental, economic, and social impacts commingle and become an important part of CEQA analysis. Federal EPA calls addressing this triad, triple bottom line analysis or sustainability triad analysis. Real estate mortgage defaults have been to a degree caused by unfunded environmental mandates as seen in EXHIBIT 21. Narrative, environmentally unsound and uneconomic discharge orders inflicted on the overburdened urban poor reflect poorly on the State Board. All basin polluters should be treated the same relative to economic impacts of basin cleanup regardless of property size. The Proportional Discharge Model of enforcement was offered as a social mitigation with positive environmental and economic consequences when applied to emerging energy efficient groundwater solutions. It was a triple bottom line mitigation that to me was a victim of some people looking backwards for a solution. Do we really have that luxury?

Ms. Tacker’s email comment:

“so here's an email directly to you, feel free to post it.

You say; "One of the key arguments there is the problem that no matter HOW you rearrange the deck chairs, you still can't get MORE water out of NO water. And this becomes especially acute if you keep allowing development outside the PZ."

That is simply not the case, there are 1.6, 3, 5 and 7 gallon per flush (gpf) toilets out there all over Los Osos, flushing water away every day. Requiring new development (anywhere, inside and outside the PZ and anywhere else within our basin including those in the Los Osos Valley/Clark Valley) to replace those oversized flush toilets with either the 1.1 or the 1.28 gpf at a 2:1 ratio means considerable savings! To do nothing wastes water i.e. moratorium.
These programs have been implemented throughout the state, country and in Canada and Australia. The program the County is proposing Tuesday is better late than never. The County didn't do it in 1992 when they considered Level III Severity for Los Osos and when the LOCSD was formed they didn't do it either. The LOCSD was depending on a silly sewer project to get grants to do it (they received approval for $500K, not nearly enough, and it was not going to pay for toilets that had already been retrofitted as stated by Rose Bowker "save your receipt".
Development will have to go door to door (or use a service like 528-FLOW) and replace toilets -- gathering enough savings to doubly offset the a homes use.
In fact, the County's proposal will require closer to 3 times the average households water use be saved in order to build one home. Currently Los Osos homes use on average 303 gallons per day (gpd) (.34 acre feet per year (afy)) each, which is below the state wide average due to few lawns, parks or ornimental landscapes. To be conservative the County's formula assumes each Los Osos homes uses 450 gpd (.5 afy), so one new home will have to save twice that amount 900 gpd (1afy). These savings will have to be verified by a licensed plumber who is putting his license on the line as part of the ordinance.
This is a good thing for Los Osos, it will allow new development to start saving water before there is a sewer (which, by the way, is the largest single component of optimum basin management).Julie”