What’s in the cards for 2020? Given the way this year has begun, with Australian wildfires, Venetian and Indonesian floods, volcanic activity in New Zealand and the Philippines, and earthquakes in Puerto Rico, and given recent extreme events at home with record-breaking fires during two of the last three years, and the sixth greatest Guerneville flood of record occurring last year, predicting similar future events in our neighborhood may be easy to do.
West County Wastewater Issues Dominate 2019….
West County wastewater issues were the primary challenge for RRWPC in 2019. It was notable that our local public treatment works (after two floods) had three separate spills that released over one million gallons of raw sewage at two Russian River County Sanitation District (RRCSD) manholes adjacent to Riverside Drive and Vacation Beach pump stations.
Regional Board meeting on Pathogen TMDL….
Although not heavily attended, those who came out for the Regional Board Meeting on August 14th to take part in the hearing on the Pathogen TMDL, were very informed citizens on this topic, as many had been tracking the issue for years. (You can see entire meeting by going to: http://cal-span.org/static/meetings-RWQCB-NC.php Click on camera icon in box labeled August 14, 2019. A black box will come up mid-screen. Scroll down and click on message “download video”. This will take about a minute. The entire hearing took about three hours. There’s a horizontal bar beneath the video that you can move and skip around the various presentations.”)
The North Coast Regional Board has conducted numerous studies over the last ten years to justify widespread new regulations to control pathogens in the Russian River and its major tributaries. About 20 years ago, legislation known as AB 885 triggered this activity, although Russian River septic systems had long been blamed by upstream neighbors for polluting the Russian River. While several other sources of bacterial pollution were acknowledged in the Regional Board’s 350+ page TMDL Report, most of the document focused on septic systems as having the greatest need for remediation.