HOLTVILLE — The pursuit of a settlement discussion with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board over alleged E. colieffluent violations was approved by the City Council on Tuesday.
There were five effluent limit violations this past winter, said waterworks supervisor Frank Cornejo.
Holtville already has a cease and desist order from the Water Quality Control Board over ammonia discharges. And if ammonia discharges are not reduced by 2014, the state will fine the city.
But these effluent violations occurred between November 2011 and March, according to a report to the council.
The violations came because the wastewater treatment plant uses ultraviolet light instead of chemicals as a disinfectant, Cornejo said. During the winter the UV disinfection system “is not as effective” in killing bacteriological agents, he said
“This really has no impact to public health,” said Cornejo, as the effluent isn’t released to a body of water that the public uses.
Still, a penalty of $6,000 has been issued to the city, according to a report to the council. Meanwhile, the city has a number of options on how to accept the fine.
Under the first option the city could send a check to the state, said Cornejo, “which we absolutely do not want to do.”
The second option, which was unanimously approved by the council, is to engage the prosecution department of the Water Quality Control Board, and ask it to apply those fines toward the improvements of the wastewater plant.
These improvements have already being designed.
The total cost of the wastewater treatment plant rehabilitation project is about $7.5 million.
About $2 million in bonds were issued last year and a sewer fund was created in January to repay the loans for the rehabilitation of the wastewater treatment plant.
The rehabilitation of the wastewater treatment plant should be completed by 2014, Cornejo said.
In the meantime, staff is developing operational strategies to avoid further violations, he said.
But until the plant is improved, Cornejo said, avoiding such violations “is going to be a challenge.”
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are three things that came out of Monday’s Holtville City Council meeting
1 A facility use agreement between the Imperial Valley Desert Aquatics for the use of the Gene M. Layton Memorial Swimming Pool was approved by the City Council. The draft agreement includes an annual facility use fee of $2,400. IVDA also committed to build a solar heating system for the pool worth $24,000. The group has already rallied $13,510 in donations.
2 The design and work for sidewalk and crosswalk improvements along State Route 115 and Fifth Street are completed and the City Council approved to pay $38,000 on top of the $300,000 grant awarded by Caltrans. The costs of the project exceeded the original budget due to issues such as right of away acquisitions and the relocation of polls. Local Transportation Account funds, which are distinct from the general fund, will be used to pay for the additional costs.
3 John Paul Wells was appointed to the Planning Commission with a 4-1 vote. The dissenting vote came from Councilwoman Colleen Ludwig who opposed the appointee as he is an employee of the Holtville School District, which is involved in a lawsuit with the city’s former development agency.
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