Tough Sewage Rules Affirmed
Two years after the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District was ordered by regional regulators to greatly clean the treated quality of wastewater discharged into the Sacramento River, the State Water Resources Control Board has reaffirmed the earlier decision.
A draft State Board order said the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board had sufficient evidence to make its 2010 decision.
Sewage effluent discharged into the Delta watershed – source of drinking water to 26 million Californians and more than three million irrigated acres of farmland – contains ammonia increasingly believed to be a factor in disrupting the aquatic food chain and harming species such as Delta smelt and salmon protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Public health risks were also cited by the Regional Board in its order for Sacramento to upgrade treatment by adopting tertiary filtration and disinfection, means of eliminating ammonia. Sacramento has been given 10 years to comply. The cost is expected to be nearly $2 billion.
The Sacramento district sued the Regional Board over its decision but had not pursued the litigation pending its appeal.