Ventura Wastewater in the News
- Environmental group to sue Ventura
It says sewage treatment plant is hurting Santa Clara River estuary
By Zeke Barlow
Originally published 09:57 a.m., January 6, 2010
Updated 10:28 p.m., January 6, 2010
An environmental group has taken the first step in filing a lawsuit against the city of Ventura, claiming it does not adequately treat the effluent it dumps into the Santa Clara River estuary.
“Decades of paying the minimum penalty to pollute as a cost of conducting business, instead of implementing feasible solutions to safeguard public health, resident well-being, the steelhead, and the Santa Clara River ecosystem” must stop in favor of government action to protect the public interest for current and future generations, Jason Weiner, Ventura Coastkeeper’s associate director and staff attorney, said in a news release.
The city has a permit to put about 9 million gallons of effluent it treats at the nearby sewage facility into the estuary. It is one of the few places in the state with a permit to discharge into an estuary.
A wish for the Santa Clara River Estuary
By Michael Sullivan 01/14/2010
The Wishtoyo Foundation’s Ventura Coastkeeper Program, a local nonprofit dedicated to environmental advocacy, filed a notice of intent to sue the city of Ventura for illegally discharging toxic waste from its sewage plant into the Santa Clara River Estuary and Ventura’s coastal waters, which are violations of the California Clean Water Act, on Jan. 5. As of Monday, Jan. 11, City Attorney Ariel Calonne said, after a closed session meeting on the same day regarding the threatened litigation, “No reportable action has been taken.”
Paul Jenkin, the environmental director of the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental advocacy group dedicated to protecting the ocean, waves and beaches, said his group has been aware of the condition of the Santa Clara River mouth and estuary for years, indicating it wasn’t necessarily lethally toxic, but could pose such a threat.
“Historically, [the Surfrider Foundation] did do ocean water sampling,” Jenkin said. “The Santa Clara River mouth was a hot spot for high bacteria counts. It was a problem at the mouth, and we did track it. Clearly, if there are violations, it would increase the pressure on the city to improve it.”
Jenkin did note, however, that there is a simpler solution than costly improvements to the treatment of sewage: reuse of gray water. He said that the most likely and cost efficient answer would be on a home-by-home basis — that residents would reuse and/or contain water from their bathtubs and sinks, and gray water could be used for irrigation, rather than treating all “used” water as if it was sewage.