New Times / News
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 27, Issue 16
District pooh-poohs sewage penalty
By KATHY JOHNSTON
A “huge” $1.1 million penalty issued by local water-quality officials last month—after hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage spilled from a treatment plant in Oceano in 2010—is “unconstitutional and unreasonably high,” according to an appeal filed by the South SLO County Sanitation District.
The appeal also disputes the Regional Water Quality Control Board’s conclusion that the raw-sewage spill was caused by negligence and lack of maintenance.
The latest financial reports for the sanitation district show there’s not enough cash on hand to pay the fine without raising sewer rates for residents of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and Oceano, according to the appeal. Those financial reports had not been completed when the penalty was issued.
Technically known as a petition for review, the 53-page document asks the State Water Resources Control Board to overturn the penalty. If the state board refuses to do that, the next stop would be the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, according to the district’s legal counsel, Mike Seitz.
“Our best chance is before a judge,” Seitz said.
The makeup of the sanitation district’s board of directors—considered by some ratepayers to be an “old boys’ club”—is due to change in January, when Grover Beach’s new mayor, Debbie Peterson, takes office.
Peterson has questioned the dual roles of district administrator John Wallace, whose company, the Wallace Group, is also the district’s engineering consultant. State prosecutors have also criticized the arrangement.
Falcon 9 rocket scheduled for launch from Vandenberg The locals who stood at Standing Rock: Three Central Coast residents reflect on their week protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline Sauce in the stocking: Local beer, spirits, and wine companies provide libations that make great last-minute gifts Hobnobbing with Helen Truth or lives: Santa Maria police used fake news release to thwart murder Cities sign on for project aimed to extend Tajiguas Landfill lifespan Man convicted of Nipomo gang assault sentenced to probation