Heal the Ocean is proud to announce that Rick Merrifield, former director of Santa Barbara County’s Environmental Health Services, has joined our Advisory Board - and has already begun important work to help as a consultant on septic system issues. During his tenure as EHS director, Rick worked closely with HTO for years on septic pollution problems, including the South Coast Beach Communities Septic to Sewer Project. Most notably, Rick came to our rescue as we muddled through with Heal the Bay, Santa Monica, the difficult process of working with State Water Resources Control Board staff in crafting language for AB 885 – septic system regulations for the State of California. His input was a major contributor to the adoption of AB 885 regulations in June 2012.
Rick is presently helping HTO with his expert edit of the HTO-sponsored Groundwater Characterization Project: Santa Ynez River Valley Groundwater Basin report, which has been stuck in the review process at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board for too long (in our estimation). The report is needed to gauge septic system pollution of the Santa Ynez Valley groundwater basin, with suspected sources including Los Olivos, Janin Acres, and Ballard. Rick's edits and comments have been sent to the Regional Board with our request for action.