Tuesday, September 16, 2014     Volume: 29, Issue: 7
Featured Slideshow


Panga Boat Bust 9/6

Weekly Poll
Should police be allowed to use surplus military equipment?

Cheap or free gear for local police? Sounds good to me.
No. Police are meant to serve the people, not to threaten them.
If they use it properly I don’t see any reason why not, but I don’t feel comfortable seeing cops with assault rifles.
Nothing says democracy like a bayonet to the butt.

Vote! | Poll Results

RSS Feeds

Latest News RSS
Current Issue RSS

Special Features
Search or post SLO County food and wine establishments

New Times / News

The following article was posted on October 10th, 2012, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 11 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 11

Sewage spill brings a penalty--and an appeal


Attorneys for the South SLO County Sanitation District are getting ready to file an appeal against a $1.1 million penalty for spilling 674,000 gallons of raw sewage two years ago.

Members of the Regional Water Quality Control Board decided on the penalty amount on Oct. 3, after a marathon 16-hour hearing last month. A few hours later, the sanitation district’s board of directors voted 2-1 in closed session to file an appeal, with Oceano representative Matthew Guerrero dissenting.

In their unanimous decision on the penalty amount, members of the local water board cited negligence and lack of maintenance as reasons for the spill. Raw sewage backed up into some homes in Oceano and flowed into nearby creeks and the ocean in December 2010.

“Our decision was not subjective. There’s a set of guidelines that legally we have to follow [to determine a penalty amount],” water board member Jean-Pierre Wolff told New Times after the decision.

He brandished a thick binder stuffed with pages of detailed formulas spelled out in the state’s Water Quality Enforcement Policy.

Sanitation district attorney Mike Seitz said district officials are “shocked” by the decision.

“We feel we have a strong case in front of a judge, rather than the water board. Their entire application of the enforcement policy is unfair,” Seitz said in a phone interview.

The district hired a Sacramento law firm to present its case to the water board. The same firm is working on the appeal, technically known as a petition, to the State Water Resources Control Board. If the state board declines to hear the case, it will go to SLO County Superior Court, Seitz said.

Asked whether the sanitation district has budgeted for the legal fight, Seitz responded: “Yes, but it’s the first time we’re going down this path. We’ve had a little difficulty explaining how we’re budgeting for it due to attorney-client privilege.”