• The city will continue to violate standards while the upgrade is being performed

Paso Robles agrees to pay water quality failure settlement

Dec 05 2013 Read 1242 Times

Paso Robles, California, US has not complied with state standards when it comes to sewage treatment for a number of years, reports the New Times. During the period September 1st 2009 to September 30th 2013, a total of 107 violations were committed by failed sewage and wastewater treatment. As a result of these violations, the city council has agreed to pay a substantial settlement package.

A total of $321,000 (£195,934) will be paid by the city council to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, reports the news provider. The control board is responsible for the enforcement and monitoring of water quality as decided by the state. The settlement covers all of the violations from September 2009 to September 2013, as well as other offences.

As well as the settlement amount, Paso Robles is also upgrading the current wastewater treatment facility that has not been treating sewage to a level that is compliant with state standards. Around $49.6 million is being invested in the upgrade, to ensure all future systems work to the highest level. It is expected the upgrade will be completed in September 2014, according to the news provider.

Public works director, Doug Monn, told the council that, until the upgrade has been completed and the new systems are operational, the city will continue to violate water quality standards as the facility is currently unable to cope with the volumes of wastewater to be treated. 

He continued to say that many of the violations are due to the high salt content found in treated water, which is due to the use of water softeners throughout the city, according to the news provider. This use of softeners will be lessened when the Nacimiento Water Treatment Plant begins functioning, which is a separate project. 

Although the council has agreed to pay the settlement and has accepted responsibility for the water quality failings, it has been highlighted that the many of the state standards and the way penalties are paid are incredibly stringent. Previous enforcement meant there was room for negotiation but now each violation issues a minimum $3,000 fine, according to the news provider.

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