Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Chloride Compliance

MEETING STATE-MANDATED CHLORIDE (SALT) LIMITS IN THE SANTA CLARITA VALLEY

BACKGROUND 

The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District (SCVSD) manages wastewater (sewage) for residents and businesses throughout the valley.  The treated wastewater, not used for municipal reuse, is discharged to the Santa Clara River pursuant to permits which contain stringent chloride limits.  The SCVSD has spent more than ten years attempting to achieve the most reasonable chloride limit possible and develop the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible solution to meeting the State-mandated chloride limit for the SCV.  In October 2013, the SCVSD Board of Directors approved a project to comply with the State-mandated chloride limit and certified the associated Environmental Impact Report (2013 EIR). The 2013 EIR contained two projects: 1) the Chloride Compliance Project which documented the technical studies and alternatives analysis completed to identify the most cost-effective and environmentally responsible methods of meeting the State-mandated chloride limit, and 2) the Recycled Water Project which studied the diversion of treated wastewater from the river for reuse. Since the 2013 EIR was certified, the SCVSD has abandoned its plans to dispose of brine through deep well injection and instead proposed enhanced brine concentration equipment and disposal of the smaller amount of concentrated brine by limited trucking to an existing industrial facility in Carson. The SCVSD certified a Supplemental EIR analyzing the impacts of the new brine disposal plan in 2016 (2016 Trucking SEIR). 

The 2013 EIR was challenged in court.  In February 2016, the Court found that two aspects of the 2013 EIR did not fully comply with CEQA.  First, the Court directed the SCVSD to conduct additional environmental study on potential impacts to a protected endangered species, the unarmored threespine stickleback (stickleback).  Second, the Court considered SCVSD’s pursuit of the trucking method of brine management to be an “abandonment” of the method approved in the 2013 EIR, leaving the SCVSD with an incomplete chloride compliance project.  The Court did not find fault with the environmental review related to the Chloride Compliance Project components.  The Court, nonetheless, set aside the 2013 EIR and related approvals until the SCVSD addresses both issues.  The 2016 Trucking SEIR addressed the Court’s second issue.  To address the first issue, the SCVSD Board sought to separate the Recycled Water Project from the Chloride Compliance Project.

On June 2, 2016, the Court determined that SCVSD could not do so because it had not studied the impacts of implementing the Chloride Compliance Project separate from the Recycled Water Project, thereby delaying compliance with state chloride mandates to improve water quality.

FINAL RECIRCULATED SCVSD CHLORIDE COMPLIANCE EIR – SEPARATION OF RECYCLED WATER PROJECT

In response to the June 2 Court ruling with regard to the Chloride Compliance Project, SCVSD prepared a Final Recirculated Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District Chloride Compliance Project Environmental Impact Report – Separation of Recycled Water Project (Final Recirculated EIR) for its Chloride Compliance Project. On August 30, 2017, the SCVSD Board of Directors certified the Final Recirculated EIR and approved the Chloride Compliance Project. This Final Recirculated EIR revises and updates some of the analysis from SCVSD’s prior 2013 EIR and 2016 Trucking SEIR. The purpose of this Final Recirculated EIR was to allow SCVSD to evaluate the potential approval of the Chloride Compliance Project alone, while separating that project from the Recycled Water Project, which was also analyzed in the 2013 EIR.

SCVSD returned to the Court on October 24, 2017, to request a motion to partially discharge the writ from the Court’s June 2016 ruling. The Court found that the Final Recirculated EIR complies with the writ by resolving the particular issues identified by the Court and, thus, granted SCVSD’s motion. SCVSD was permitted to resume work on the Chloride Compliance Project in accordance with the Final Recirculated EIR and Project approvals. The Court retains jurisdiction over the remaining issue, which requires an environmental review of impacts to stickleback caused by the Recycled Water Project.

THE APPROVED CHLORIDE COMPLIANCE PROJECT

The Chloride Compliance Project includes ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems at both the Saugus and Valencia Water Reclamation Plants (WRPs) and advanced water treatment (AWT) facilities at Valencia WRP.  AWT includes reverse osmosis equipment.  The water that has passed through a reverse osmosis membrane becomes ultra-clean water and the remaining salty water becomes a byproduct called brine that requires proper disposal.  The brine will be managed with enhanced brine concentration equipment and limited trucking of concentrated brine to an existing industrial facility, the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts’ Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson.

Construction of the UV disinfection systems began in November 2018 and is anticipated to be complete by December 2020 at the Valencia WRP, and January 2021 at the Saugus WRP.  Construction of the AWT at the Valencia WRP began in April 2019 and is anticipated to be complete in January 2022.

FOR MORE INFORMATION 


l For questions or to be added to our mailing list, please email Ms. Jodie Lanza at jlanza@lacsd.org or call
   
(562) 908-4288, extension 2707. 


l The Notice of Availability for the Final Recirculated EIR can be found here.  

l  The Final Recirculated EIR can be found here.

l  Presentation from August 30, 2017 SCV Board meeting.