The District’s 2012 Salinity Evaluation and Minimization Plan was prepared to fulfill a requirement included in the District’s previous NPDES permit (Order No. R5-2011-0053). The Salinity Plan assessed the District’s salinity sources, which include the potable water supply, residential water uses, commercial water uses, and the wastewater collection and treatment processes. After comparing the WWTF’s effluent water quality to the applicable salinity water quality objectives, it was determined that the District was capable of complying with applicable salinity water quality objectives because the effluent salinity concentrations were significantly lower than the objectives. The Salinity Plan concluded that further reduction in effluent salinity could be realized through treatment process modifications, such as reverse osmosis, but could not justify the associated high capital and operational costs. Instead, the Salinity Plan recommended that District salinity control efforts focus on public outreach and source control.
The District's current Order (R5-2016-0045-02) does not contain effluent limitations for salinity. The District continues to monitor its salinity trends and its effluent salinity parameters are significantly lower than the most stringent water quality objectives/criteria.
Cental Valley Salinity Alternatives for Long Term Sustainability Intiative (CV-SALTS)
In an effort to control salt accumulation in residual irrigation water, mitigate adverse impacts on agricultural lands, and ultimately stabilize salinity, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board developed the CV-SALTS initiative. The objective of the initiative was to develop a salinity and nitrate control plan based on input from all stakeholders (e.g., agriculture, cities, industries, environmentalists, economists, etc.). The initiative resulted in recommendations that the Regional Water Board’s “Basin Plan” be amended to specify how control of salinity and nitrate was to be accomplished. Under the amendments, the District has been notified that it will be receiving a Notice to Comply with the amendments from the Regional Water Board in the fall of 2020.
The District is currently in compliance with water quality objectives for salinity and intends to comply with the applicable water quality objectives and the CV-SALTS Basin Plan amendments. The District will continue to conduct its salinity minimization plan for the purpose of continuing to meet the objectives. The primary methods for further achieving salinity minimization include the continued implementation of a public outreach program as well as continued monitoring.
A Word About Preserving the Environment
The primary mission of your wastewater utility, the Bear Valley Water District, is to preserve the quality of the environment. Your wastewater user fees fund the collection, treatment, and safe disposal of your wastewater. The District’s wastewater treatment process is a largely natural and organic process that is very reliable and minimizes use of chemicals and power to the extent feasible. We are very proud of that.
However, the treatment process (as compared to extremely expensive “reverse osmosis” treatment) provides only incidental removal of natural mineral salts and metals such as sodium, chloride, sulfate, calcium, copper, lead, etc. that are commonly present in wastewater to varying extents as a result of our conveyance and normal use of water for sanitation, bathing, laundering, food preparation, etc.
What we ask of all users of the Bear Valley Water District wastewater utility is that each user be conscientious of what is flushed down toilets and sinks. Human wastes, chemicals such as soaps and detergents from cleaning, and residuals from food preparation and clean up all belong in the sewer, and we can handle that safely. However, the wastewater utility is not a landfill and unused products of any sort should not be flushed down a sink or a toilet. This includes unused cleaning products, food waste, paints, chemicals, medicines, de-icing salts, anti-freeze beyond what is needed to protect your piping, etc.
We, collectively, as members of the Bear Valley Water District community are doing a good job at preserving our environment. Here at the District, we are asking our users to please be conscientious of what is flushed down a toilet or sink versus taken to a landfill. Landfills are designed to isolate waste from the environment, and your wastewater utility is designed to treat normal waste in water and return that treated water safely to the environment for reuse. Water is becoming increasingly scarce in California. Please help us preserve this water resource – flush what you must and landfill the rest.