RRWPC just learned that treated wastewater discharges from the Russian River County Sanitation District have been happening since last Monday (May 20th) and will continue until approximately next Tuesday (May 28th). These discharges are not allowed to take place between May 15th and October 15th, so this is an illegal discharge. When we called the number posted (707 523 1070) we were told it was because of all the rain this last week and inadequate storage space at the treatment plant. While signs have been placed along the lower river (Vacation Beach on down) they don’t indicate that there is a potential health issue. This is fully treated wastewater, but it is not meant for human contact because there may be pathogens present.
The discharge is occurring about one mile west of Guerneville so communities upstream would not be affected by the discharge. Furthermore, the entire lower river is deeper than usual for this time of year because of all the May rain, but it is also filled with sediments and probably pathogens from other sources, although we have not yet seen any data.
Some of you may be vacationing here this holiday weekend, but we strongly advise you not to go in the water (and not allow your pets in either). We wish we could have gotten this information to you sooner, but we just found out. We have been trying to put the word out to as many people as possible.
The Regional Board will be closed all weekend, but you can call them on Tuesday at 707 576 2220 to express concerns and ask questions. Please send this announcement around to all parties who may be interested in this information.