By Brenda Adelman
The Russian River County Sanitation District (RRCSD) needs additional storage capacity at the treatment plant in order to keep it from discharging contaminants into the Russian River during high water periods. Russian River Watershed Protection Committee (RRWPC) agrees that it is necessary. According to official documents, approximately 30 million gallons of storage is needed in order to fully serve current ratepayers under all river flows. RRCSD currently has 3.5 million gallons (mg) of storage, and the proposed new storage basin would give us 3.5 mg more at a cost of $4.5 million dollars.
We agree on the need for storage, but this is where the agreement stops. Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA), operators of the system, have neglected developing a master plan for this and other components as required in the General Plan, which states that no projects can be implemented until a master plan is complete. Yet SCWA has proposed several component projects with separate environmental reviews. Their intent has been to use inappropriate and possibly illegal methods to turn RRCSD into a regional system.