February 2019 E-Letter #2

In this E-Letter:

  • The City of SB Moves Towards 'One' Water

  • Garden Street/101 Freeway gets a Clean-Up Order...FINALLY!

  • State Lands Commission Tackles Haskell's Beach

  • HTO 2019 Newsletter On the Drawing Board...Get on the Mailing List Now!

In Water Negotiation with Montecito, the City of Santa Barbara Moves Towards 'One' Water

Cater Treatment Plant

Cater Treatment Plant

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, in its negotiations with the Montecito Water District to supply water to Montecito, the Santa Barbara City Council heard from staff about the Governing Principles of the agreement. The City Council will consider its approval during a City Council meeting in spring 2019.

Heal the Ocean was thrilled to learn that one of the Governing Principles of such agreement is that the City shall have the right to supply Montecito from the City potable water supply system as a whole. (Emphasis ours.) This means the water available to Montecito could come from "One Water"- Cachuma, Gibraltar, State Water, and potable reuse water - as well as (and not only) from the desalination plant.

The City has long been waiting for the State to finalize its Potable Reuse Standards, the new deadline of which is 2023 - four years from now. In theOne Water scenario, the potable reuse water would be sent to the William B. Cater Water Treatment Plant, which currently treats raw water received from Gibraltar and Cachuma to drinking water standards, and adding desaland potable reuse to this mix would require less desal water to supply both the City and Montecito.

The agreement with Montecito, however, requires the City Desalination Plant to be able to increase production by 1,430 Acre Feet Per Year (AFY) as a guarantee. (The city currently produces 3,125 AFY for its own use.) Thispotential increase in production does not mean it will fully take place, because the water for Montecito is from the City Potable water supply as a whole.

An analogy is an insurance policy on a house. Let's say the structure is insured for $500,000 - but if a fire breaks out in the garage, the homeowner is reimbursed just the amount of damages, not the full $500,000.

HTO has been working long and hard to promote recycled water, which has included pressuring the State Water Board to move forward on developing standards for Potable Reuse. (Please see James Hawkins report “Inventory of Municipal Wastewater Discharges to California Coastal Waters”). We are all for One Water!

An added note: City Water rates will not increase. It is Montecito buying the water - and Montecito Water rates will increase as a result. It has been noted that the increase rates may encourage conservation.

Please write your City Councilmembers to approve of the Montecito/City agreement because it urges the City forward with developing its potable water supply!

20 Years of HTO Work, & Finally!
Garden Street/101 Freeway Gets a Clean-Up Order

Left: Garden Street/101 Property

Right: Pollutants oozing out of 101 South onramp

In 1999, during the earliest days of HTO, someone came into our office with a vial of putrid water collected from the wall of the 101 freeway south onramp at Garden Street. We had it tested – and the bacterial readings were off the charts. 
HTO chased this issue for years and were led astray by many City, County, and State officials, who said this area only consisted of a wood-mulching company. Our petition to the Regional Water Quality Control Board merely led the owner of the mulching company having to cover the area with tarps during a rain.
HTO chased this issue for years, going through City boring records, County Environmental Health services records, Santa Barbara News-Pressmicrofiche records. We were determined that one cannot cover up a landfill with dirt and leave. It has to monitored, capped, controlled, dug up – remediated. The polluted groundwater beneath this site spreads, and it spreads to the ocean.
Finally, this property came before the City Planning Commission in January 2016 for approval of a magnificent plaza project, designed by celebrated architect Brian Cearnal. HTO went to this meeting and praised the project, because, we said to the Commission, it was an opportunity to clean up the mess underneath. The Commission agreed with us, and Brian Cearnal came to HTO offices to discuss a remedy. At this point Santa Barbara County Public Health Site Mitigation (SMU) officials became involved. 
So now, twenty years after HTO started sleuthing on this issue, on January 28, 2019, we received a copy of a cleanup directive from Santa Barbara County Public Health to the owner of this property. It is comprehensive - and it states (in Section 11) that the site must be cleaned up whether it is developed or not. Heal the Ocean hopes that the site will be cleaned up such that Brian Cearnal great vision for this property can be realized.

State Lands Commission Tackling Hazards at Haskell's Beach

Haskell's Beach, photo by Steve Curran

Haskell's Beach, photo by Steve Curran

State Lands Commission Petroleum drilling engineer Steve Curran sent a picture to Heal the Ocean this week that shows the rusty, hazardous pilings now being removed from Haskell's Beach, adjacent to the Bacara Resort. The removal is being done with funding from Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson's Senate Bill 44, which takes in coastal hazards removal as well ascapping of abandoned, leaking oil wells. Curran is in the Santa Barbara area every week, planning the next oil-capping operations for Summerland beach as well as overseeing the decommissioning of old wells on Rincon Island, a 2.3-acre artificial island located off Mussel Shoals in Ventura County. Thank you, Steve!

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HTO's 2019 Newsletter Cover, "Twin Palms" by Eliot Crowley

HTO's 2019 Newsletter is shaping up to be an exciting one, and you won't want to miss out!

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