Sonoma County Gazette, May 2013

AB 2398 now back as AB 803: Irrigated Wastewater Legislation

Last year’s controversial legislation, AB 2398, proposed loosening State  requirements for wastewater irrigation in order to greatly expand reuse. Now it’s returned as AB 803, and still maximizes opportunities for over-irrigating wastewater that can pollute our waterways with concentrated nutrients, toxic pesticides, and other endocrine disrupting chemicals during low stream flows when pollutants are least likely to be assimilated. This is also the time when recreational use is highest and the potential for human contact is great.

The person who helped write both pieces of legislation, Dr. Dave Smith, is head of California WateReuse, and also the prime wastewater consultant for the City of Santa Rosa for the last 27 years.  During that time, and with Santa Rosa’s support, Dr. Smith advocated greater discharges into the Russian River, argued vociferously for mixing zones (areas allowing pollutant discharges), assisted in lawsuits against the State Water Board to avoid regulation of nutrient discharges into the severely impaired Laguna, and much more.  For years he advocated significant capacity increases in the City’s discharge permit over what was needed for projected growth, and is currently lobbying to minimize regulatory oversight in the City’s revised discharge permit.