Linda Water District hit with $123,000 in fines
The Linda County Water District has been hit with $123,000 in penalties this month after accumulating more than 40 violations at its wastewater treatment plant in an 18-month period.
The district faces the fines imposed by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board for 41 violations for its inability to meet wastewater standards between December 2010 and August 2012.
Several chemicals in the plant's wastewater, which flows into both the Feather River and nearby ponds, failed to meet state standards during that time, the water quality board said. Among them were chloroform and chlorine.
However, the chemically-infused wastewater has done little to no harm to the environment despite the fact that water standards were not met, said Wendy Wyels, environmental program manager with the water quality board.
"If there had been an impact, we would have seen it already," she said.
She said, however, the board hasn't performed any environmental studies.
Linda County Water District officials were not available for comment Friday.
The majority of the district's violations, resulting in fines of about $3,000 each, were for not meeting mandatory pH limits, according to Wyels. The district has been fined previously, receiving $33,000 in penalties for exceeding discharge limits in October 2010.
At that time, the district was constructing an upgraded wastewater treatment plant. The new plant was built and testing was conducted from Feb. 7, 2012, through May 7, Wyels said.
"Linda County knows it has problems and that's why it made the upgrades to its treatment plant," she said.
However, Wyels said the district didn't see an immediate reduction in violations.
In fact, of the 41 violations given to the district this month, only 18 occurred before the new plant was operational, she said.
The district received two violations for not meeting pH limits in August, but didn't receive a single violation over the following three months. With this in mind, Wyels said she expects the district will be able to reach discharge limits consistently from now on.
If the district disagrees with the penalties, administrators can ask for a hearing or argue their case in front of the water quality board. It can also enter into a settlement discussion, Wyels said. Otherwise, the district has 30 days to pay the $123,000 in fines.
CONTACT Griffin Rogers at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.