Achieving Sustainable Water in SB County

As millions in state water bond (“Proposition 1”) funds continue to be released, Heal the Ocean is wasting no time in helping secure funding that fights the drought and ensures the sustainable development of local water supplies. We are working with public agencies and professional consultants to achieve progress in recycled water, stormwater capture, and cleaning up groundwater supplies.

Recycling Waste(d)water

Heal the Ocean is pushing for the advancement of potable and non-potable reuse projects as a significant supplemental supply of locally controlled water.

Goleta Potable Reuse Facilities Plan:  We helped establish a partnership between Goleta Water District/Goleta Sanitary District/Goleta West Sanitary District and RMC Water & Environment to develop a grant application to the state for a potable reuse facilities plan. The grant was recently approved by the state and the project partners are well underway in developing their facilities plan, which is due out in draft form by June 2016.

Santa Barbara Subsurface Desalination Intake and Potable Reuse Technical Feasibility Study:  We continue to monitor the proceedings of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP), convened by the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), on its vetting of the City of Santa Barbara Subsurface Desalination Intake and Potable Reuse Feasibility Study. We attended the January 27, 2016 public workshop with particular interest in the topic of potable reuse regulatory issues, but ultimately suggested corrections that are now being considered for incorporation into the feasibility analysis of subsurface desalination intakes by Carollo Engineers.

Santa Ynez Recycled Water Facilities Plan:  We also brought together Santa Ynez Community Services District (SYCSD) and RMC to submit a grant application for a facilities planning to build from scratch a recycled water facility. Instead of collecting wastewater and sending it to Solvang where it is treated and injected into the Santa Ynez river basin, SYCSD would send it to its own wastewater recycling facility (affectionately called “The Barn”).

Chumash Recycled Water Facilities Plan:  Heal the Ocean organized the meetings between Chumash officials and Dudek Environmental Engineering to help the tribe move forward with an application to the state for a facilities upgrade planning grant that would upgrade its recycled water plant to produce a higher grade water to use in hotel/casino cooling towers, plumbing and for irrigation.

Capturing Stormwater

We are helping move the ball forward on multi-benefit stormwater capture projects that recharge groundwater supplies and treat polluted urban runoff.

Countywide Stormwater Resource Plan:  Heal the Ocean is working with local water agencies, municipalities, and the County on developing a Countywide “Stormwater Resource Plan,” which will establish Proposition 1 funding eligibility for local stormwater capture projects.

Protecting Groundwater

Heal the Ocean continues to work towards policies and projects that recognize groundwater as a resource that should be conserved and protected from contamination so it is available when we need it most.

West Santa Ynez Septic-to-Sewer Project:  We helped facilitate a partnership between SYCSD and Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services for funding of a $250,000 engineering plan for sewer hookup of 377 parcels in the West Santa Ynez (Horizon/Stadium area). With hundreds of septic systems on crowded lots and unsuitable soils, the level of nitrates is rising in groundwater in that area.

Los Olivos Septic-to-Sewer Project:  With nitrates also rising in the groundwater beneath Los Olivos, (in both deep and shallow aquifers), Heal the Ocean is helping the Santa Ynez Community Services District in an information drive to Los Olivos residents about their options to bring public sewer into the town, with SYCSD planning a "satellite" wastewater-recycled water plant to replace over 300 septic systems. In late January 2016, SYCSD filed papers with LAFCO to increase its Sphere of Influence to include Los Olivos.

Investigation of Groundwater Contamination:  Investigation of Groundwater Contamination: We recently assisted in bringing together Site Mitigation Unit (SMU) staff from Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services and the City of Santa Barbara to ensure that development projects in the City are inspected for soil and groundwater contamination before projects go before the City’s Planning Commission for review.