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Sunday, 04 March 2007 23:12

State Water Board Tells Ione and ARSA To Redo Tests

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slide8The Central Valley Region Water Quality Board has notified the City of Ione through a correspondence dated February 20th that the City's submission of their waste water discharge report required under a cease and desist order from the state agency is incomplete. The Regional Board's environmental scientist Scott Kranhold writes to the city that there are 15 items of concern to the Regional Board that the city must respond to in a revised Report of Waste Discharge, however, according to one local waste water official the letter is more routine than a surprise. According to the letter the City must notify Regional Board Staff by March 15th when they will have a new report completed. Also, the city is required to report how the city plans to process waste water for new construction in the city that the Regional Staff expresses concern over in the February 20th document. State staff is concerned that the growth in the city will cause the Waste Water Treatment Plant to exceed its treatment and disposal capacity before the environmental review, permitting, and construction can be completed on improvements to the city's waste water system.

Currently both Ryland Homes and JTS Communities have homes under construction with no waste water, or sewer, hook ups for the homes. The City must, additionally, supply state staff with current and projected wastewater flows for the next year, including flows from the Amador Regional sanitation authority, ARSA, which serves Amador City, Sutter Creek and Martel but uses Ione's waste water treatment fields as part of their overflow and disposal system. The City must also develop a projection for waste water through 2009 by projecting the city's growth with a 100 year rainfall projection. The city's current submission includes only a 25 year average rainfall average.

slide11 The letter from Kranhold goes on to state that concerns over wastewater discharge to ponds located along Sutter Creek infiltrating ground waters that then flow into the creek. In 2003 Ione submitted a hydrogeologic study to the state that  stated that wastewater was indeed seeping into Sutter Creek form the ponds at a rate of 175 gallons per day during dry weather times when the creek's natural flow levels were low. At that time Ione proposed partially lining the city's waste water ponds  that were located within 200 feet of the creek. This plan however was not completed and can not now be considered a solution as current clean water regulations prevent the seepage of any surface water drainage.

Concerns about discharge of wastewater around pond number 7 are also addressed by the state's scientist. Again the concern is the impacts of this discharge on surrounding ground water and lands. Contingency plans for another 100 year rainfall year, like last year, are also required according to the state. How the city would deal with another saturated year to minimize spills and protect surrounding properties must be developed and submitted to the state.

The City's Engineer Roark Weber is working to respond to the state request and the Amador Regional Sanitation Authority is willing to do their part as well. In fact according to ARSA Executive Director Rob Duke the water balances required by the state have already been completed. Dukes states that “Essentially the letter from the Central Valley Regional water control board is a reply to Ione’s application for a new report of waste discharge.” Duke state that “Every government agency has to give entities and citizens due process- so when a city makes an application and it is not complete the state has a duty to tell what tunings are needed to make it compete.” Duke says “It is my opinion that all this letter is, is comments about things that Ione needs to do to make their application complete. One of those is the water balance tests, which fortunately ARSA has just completed in partnership with Ione. It will be available by the April 15 date stated for their revise. We fell confident it will answer the states questions.”

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