Sonoma County Gazette, October 2012

Water Supply needs prioritized over clean water…..
Increased State approved recycled wastewater may run off into city streets next summer as regulatory oversight is about to become less rigorous, reflecting strong pressures to increase wastewater reuse to stretch the summer potable water supplies.  The goal is to offset California’s potable water use by 2.5 million acre feet (about 812 billion gallons) with irrigated wastewater by the year 2030.  The practice is not limited to urban areas, as emphasis on irrigated wastewater expansion is aimed at agriculture as well.

A few years ago the Regional Board legitimized most summer irrigation runoff through a Basin Plan Amendment.  They referred to the allowed runoff as ‘incidental’ and defined it as irregular incidents that were not due to negligence, such as an occasional broken sprinkler head.  Yet numerous runoff incidents were observed and photographed since then showing wastewater going into the drainage system. (See March, 2012 issue of Gazette on Page 1.)

When these repeated and non-incidental incidents were reported to authorities, citizens were informed that further proof was necessary to actually show the runoff entering the waterway (as opposed to going down the drain), a virtually impossible task.  Since the runoff was witnessed on four different occasions in less than a month, by definition it should have been treated as a Basin Plan violation. (Attached picture of ponded wastewater accessible to children, located across the street from Santa Rosa’s Utility Department, and photographed on about six different occasions over the last eight months.)  We are concerned not only for the wastewater runoff, but also the applied endocrine disrupting pesticides and herbicides that come with it.