Oceano seawater intrusion deemed a scam

February 13, 2012


San Luis Obispo County government agencies have been using data known to be phony to secure state and federal grants.

Following a 2009 report of seawater intrusion contaminating the unincorporated community of Oceano’s groundwater supply, numerous local agencies used the information to apply for federal and state funding or to legitimize high-dollar water projects.

However, for more than a year, Oceano Community Services District board members have been saying reports of seawater intrusion are nothing but propaganda.

During last Wednesday’s board meeting,  directors penned a letter to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors asserting that there is no truth to the allegation of seawater intrusion in Oceano.

“The level of exploitation of this anomaly has reached critical mass and is being quoted from everything from commercial development, other agency needs and willful suspensions of the truth,” the letter says.

In 2009, John Wallace, owner and president of the Wallace Group, a private engineering consulting firm, was paid to oversee the monitoring of the Sentry Well in Oceano. Wallace then reported that the testing well was contaminated by seawater intrusion.

“At the time that this Sentry Well was tested, there were significant external contaminates,” the district letter says. “The board at the time was directed by its contracted engineer (Wallace) to take a position that the event was actually a benefit because it would elevate the priority level in case of any state water contractor allocation cutbacks.

“The same engineer is on contract with several San Luis Obispo agencies, which (have exploited) this information to their benefit.”

Shortly after Wallace first made his claim of seawater intrusion, critics argued that because the well’s seal was broken, and it was located behind a liquor store in an area where vagrants were known to gather, the contamination was more likely the result of urination and debris.

In early 2010, the district had the seal repaired and further testing of the well demonstrated that there was no contamination and no seawater intrusion.

Nevertheless, the allegations became the basis for requests for government monies including Proposition 84 funds, Department of Water Resources Local Groundwater Assistance program, and United States Geological Survey Water Management Plan.

In early November, the San Luis Obispo County Planning Commission approved a project citing the issue of seawater intrusion in Oceano. Concurrently, in Nipomo the false allegation of seawater intrusion was used to promote a $26 million pipeline project.

On Nov. 9, the Oceano Community Service District board discussed the issue of seawater intrusion being used as propaganda throughout the county. Board members then instructed District Manager Tom Geaslan to assemble a brief history of the issue in order to put the false claim to rest.

Instead, Geaslan signed a letter on Nov. 30 along with representatives from Grover Beach, Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and the Nipomo Mesa that requested funding to implement groundwater management activities because of seawater intrusion into their collective basin.

Meanwhile, the Oceano Community Service District board was pressuring Geaslan to prepare a letter to the SLO County Board of Supervisors explaining the claim of seawater intrusion was untrue.

And while the issue of the letter was listed on the Jan. 25 agenda, Geaslan again failed to produce the letter and claimed the district’s computers had been hacked.

“Our server has been hacked, our website has been hacked, my personal computer has been hacked,” Geaslan said at the meeting.

However, sources inside the district contend the district’s computer system froze and just needed to be reset and that Geaslan deleted several files in an attempt to promote his notion that the computers had been hacked.

Two weeks later, at the board’s Feb. 8 meeting, Geaslan again failed to produce the requested letter.

Geaslan did, however, admit to the board that he had signed a separate letter in November which claimed Oceano’s ground water was endangered because of seawater intrusion. He explained the letter was used in an attempt to get a portion of an $8.5 million dollar surplus in funding from the Nacimiento water project. He noted the letter was supposed to have been kept out of the public’s view.

“I resisted signing, but I wanted to be a team player,” Geaslan said during the meeting. “I’m kinda falling on my sword here. In retrospect I probably should have stuck to my guns and not signed.

“I need to point out that this did manifest itself into somewhat of a good way and because we all did band together and used that to go after the $200,000 that we are trying to get from the WRAC (Water Resources Advisory Council).”

During a break in the meeting, board President Matt Guerrero took upon himself the task of writing the letter notifying county leaders that claims of seawater intrusion in Oceano are untrue. Guerrero then instructed Geaslan to deliver the letter to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors.

Geaslan was the campaign manager for San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Paul Teixeira. His wife, Deb Geaslan, is the legislative assistant to Teixeira.

See the high resolution document from the Friday Reports at the Oceano CSD website.

Oceano letter 

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I am shocked shocked shocked that anyone in public office would not tell the truth.

However, falsifying data or presenting deliberately misleading information should be grounds for termination. Without public trust they do not deserve to be in government.

Falsifying data and/or presenting deliberately misleading information is actually grounds for being charged with fraud if the misleading information was part of an application for government loans and/or grants.

I was shocked to hear from a friend who lives near Redding that this had made the news up there, only to find this is news State-wide. Hopefully this broad attention will help bring about change.

I think you need to keep in mind that this recent letter from the current OCSD Board came from people who can’t tell Roberts Rules of Order from their Bylaws from the Brown Act per Mary Lucy on the Dave Congalton show yesterday. They are a confused bunch. They are basically calling their former Board liars with no evidence.

Should OCSD ask the County to do new testing on the County’s well after returning to pumping only ground water for a number of years then it would be appropriate for another agency (the County?) to write a letter as to the status of the ground water in Oceano.

Now that’s a new one: “a willful suspension of the truth”…..that simply means that one of the concocted a lie & the others swore to it and lo and behold it looks like John L Wallace is again at the bottom of this one.

Anybody see a pattern here?

There is no more room on the thread to reply to MaryMalone’s answer to my question on why Oceano doesn’t use it’s groundwater. Her reply was that they pay for State water whether they use it or not, so it is cheaper to use the State water.

Another poster a long time ago posted that the water there was terrible, so it was cheaper to pay for State water and not build the plant to make the Oceano water drinkable. So what would be the use of groundwater without the plant to clean it up? Do they have a facility to blend this with other water? Does Oceano use this water at all? As others who have posted here assert, if you didn’t use the water, that keeps the salt water intrusion at bay, but if you did use it, you would have salt water intrusion. So the point of having the water would be to use it – say in one of those years when the State doesn’t deliver? But if you did use it – lots of expense to build the plant and then would the SWI begin?

To confuse the issue further, yesterday, at the BOS meeting, a director on the Oceano board read the letter posted above and commented that Oceano had four sources of water. Does anyone have any info on the other two sources and how they are or aren’t used? Seems like that would be relevant to this discussion.

Oceano’s ground water is drinkable. In the past it has been blended. This requires a pipe with a “T” fitting inlet, not an entire facility. It is useable now and has been used. Oceano also has water from Lopez and a second well, I believe.

Thanks SLORider.

Those on the BOS who were responsible for allowing the Woodlands to be developed are long out of office – some rather recently voted out of office. How do we get retribution when these people aren’t in office anymore? We do have one of their pro-builder old cronies running for the BOS in North County. Guess we better keep an eye on her.

Excellent, now let’s move on to the Los Osos intrusion scam, admit Los Osos is a perfect location for septic and jail the miscreants who robbed the residents blind.

There’s no doubt in my mind that all the water experts knew that the Woodlands project would someday have to be subsidized by supplemental water. Now they want all the rest of Nipomo to help their new neighbors pay for it. HEY EVERYBODY LETS BUILD A NEW PIPE! YOU NEED IT! Let us guilt you into it. It’s your fault that you use so much water and it’s your fault that poor farmer Jon has converted about a gazillion acres of his property from cattle grazing into strawberries. YOUR FAULT YOUR FAULT, Vote yes to supplemental water – please my $$$$ line depends on it.

And guess who was responsible for the Woodlands projects and the associated studies…you guessed it

Woodlands Development

Market: Land Development, Sustainable

Division(s): Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Planning, Surveying, GIS Solutions, Water Resources

Owner: Woodlands Ventures, LLC

Client: Woodlands Ventures, LLC

Location: Nipomo, California

Size: 957 acres

Click here to download PDF

Wallace Group provided multi-discipline services including comprehensive civil engineering, water resources/wastewater engineering, construction management, and surveying services. This project exemplifies how Wallace Group can bring together a diverse team for complex projects. Our team successfully completed the first two phases of the largest development project in San Luis Obispo County history. Developers of The Woodlands were seeking to build a master planned community centered around an active lifestyle, which includes three golf courses, a community club, equestrian trails, network of walking paths, village center and business park. At build-out, the project will feature 1,320 single-family and multi-family residences, a 500 unit resort hotel, 48 holes of championship golf, 150,000 square feet of retail and up to 650,000 square feet of commercial and office space.

Well, that explains why the Woodlands developer was able to convince the BOS that the land Woodlands now occupies is on a completely different aquifer than the rest of the Nipomo Mesa and Santa Maria aquifers, and that this special Woodlands aquifer has PLENTY of water.

That’s pretty amusing. Do you have documentation on that claim? I know we’d all love to read whatever you have in writing that those developers gave the BOS as proof of this separate aquifer.

I heard the information from attending various meetings over the years. I’m sure I have the source saved, but I don’t have time to do a thorough search for the document now.

However, on a preliminary search, I found a couple of interesting things.

I hope this makes sense to you. If not, just ask and maybe I can state it more clearly. I’m a tangential thinker so sometimes my thinking path is not easy for others to make sense out of.

If you want more information, if you look through the SLOCounty documents for the period of time Woodlands was applying for development, you may find more specific information.



[“San Luis Obispo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District





Page 7 (Map), “Master Water Plan, Groundwater Basin Map SW”

Page 2, (Map)”Master Water Plan, Groundwater Basin”

Look at the green area for the Nipomo Mesa. You will notice the pink ilnes. Those define the areas of the greater SMValley-to-3Cities groundwater basin. Note that they drew the line so that it divides off Woodlands and separates it in the Nipomo Mesa Management Area part of the aquifer. I think this indicates Woodlands is in the “deeper” part of the NMMA part of the aquifer. The deeper part of the aquifer is not threatened to the extent that the more shallow part of the NMMA part is. Therefore, SLO County could justify allowing that large development going in at a time groundwater studies were showing there were big issues with overuse of the aquifer underlying the Nipomo Mesa.

I question the logic of this reasoning, but, as you can see, John Wallace is associated with the project at that point, so that is to be expected.


Page 32:

The NMMA has defined a Shallow Aquifer and a Deep Aquifer. The Shallow Aquifer within the NMMA is considered to be an unconfined aquifer. There may also be perched aquifers abovelocal clay beds (perched aquifers are unconfined aquifers where the aquifer material below the clay bed is unsaturated). Unconfined aquifers intercept downward percolating water. Where the Deep Aquifer is present beneath a confining layer, then the Deep Aquifer is considered to be confined (NMMA Technical Group, 2009). Recharge to the management area comes primarily from deep percolation of precipitation, subsurface inflow from the Santa Maria Valley, and residential/agricultural return flows.”

(This part of the document includes Woodlands in the NMMA part fo the basin.

Page 33:

“Water Users: Basin groundwater users in the Nipomo Mesa Management Area include Golden State Water Company, Rural Water Company, Woodlands, Conoco Phillips, Nipomo Community Services District, Lucia Mar Unified School District, small public water systems…”




This second document is interesting because it clearly identifies only wells and recycled wastewater as water sources for Woodlands. NCSD ended up contracting to provide “emergency backup” to Woodlands in case the Woodlands system failed, but that was for an emergency basis only.

Below, I quote the title page. Note that the title page indicates this report was prepared by SLOCo Planning, etc., etc.

However, if you go to the report online, you’ll see a little butterfly in the upper left corner, at the level of the header, on each page. That is not the SLOCo seal (which is on the title page, but not on every page of the document). That a Woodlands icon.

County of San Luis Obispo

WOODLANDS Specific Plan

Adopted by

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors

December 15, 1998 – Resolution No. 98-494

Prepared by:

County of San Luis Obispo

Department of Planning and Building

County Government Center

1050 Monterey Street

San Luis Obispo, California


RRM Design Group

3701 South Higuera Street

San Luis Obispo, California

In cooperation with:

David Evans & Associates, Inc.

Robert Muir Graves & Damian Pascuzzo

Sponsor / Developer:

PH Property Development Company


Note that the issue of “aquifer,” “groundwater,” “overdraft,” etc. is not mentioned in this “specific” plan.


The first page of this report where water is mentioned is on page 84.

Water Service

4.1.1 Water Supply and Distribution

The water supply is to be provided primarily by four existing wells on The Woodlands site. Data on these wells is described in section of the EIR.

The potable water system routing will cover the entire development with one connected pipe network. The wells and the above-ground storage tanks shall connect to this network so that they may be utilized as needed.


Pg. 86

……4.1.2 Irrigation and Storage

Water for the golf course irrigation and landscaped areas shall come from two sources: one of the existing onsite wells and the onsite reclaimed treated sewage. The use of reclaimed water for irrigation shall be phased. As a usable amount of eff luent becomes available, this availabilit y will be determined by the amount of discharge generated by occupied uses in the project. The irrigation system for the site shall have its own pipe network independent of the potable water lines.


Page 103, under “5.1.2 Design and Development Standards”

Water: The sole water supply for all parcels and development (other than reclaimed water for irrigation) shall be the Woodlands Mutual Water Company. The Woodlands Mutual Water Company shall not be a water appropriator. The articles of incorporation and bylaws of the Woodlands Mutual Water Company shall be amended so that it neither owns or sells water but merely stores, treats and delivers water of individual overlying parcel owners within the specific plan area as their agent. Each parcel shall be sold with its water rights intact.


Here’s another blurb I found about Woodlands using existing groundwater sources for as their water source for the Woodlands development.


Re: Woodlands (Study Area Six)

“Area 6

The Woodlands development is over 900 acres and will include 1,320 residences, a commercial area and a 45-hole golf course. It is located east and adjacent to Highway 1 and south of Willow Road and is not part of the District’s SOI. The Woodlands was approved by the County through a Specific Plan and EIR and is using existing groundwater resources to serve the future residents. The Woodlands is served by a private mutual water company for water and an onsite wastewater processing plant for sewer. LAFCO does not have jurisdiction over privately operated water and sewer utilities. This area does not need the services of the District at this time. The Woodlands is being built in phases over the next 20 years and services are scheduled to be provided as the development is constructed. The Woodlands and the NCSD have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding for Resource Preservation and Management dated December 16, 2002 that outlines cooperation in obtaining supplemental water for the area. cooperate in the joint management of the water resources.

You can thank the OLD BOS for this…not the current one.

I dunno. There’s a saying that goes, “In a deal forged in heII, don’t expect angels for witnesses.”

The SLO County environment seems to be one of basically corruption. It would be very difficult to make any real change in that kind of system.

A knowledgeable friend sent me this, I thought it was so well put that asked her/him if I could post it here:

“Seawater intrusion is and has been present in Los Osos for 30 years. Seawater intrusion was measured twice in 2009 in Oceano. Each of the 5 cities municipalities submitted letters to SLO County staff informing them of seawater intrusion in Oceano and asked for additional State Water so they could reduce their groundwater pumping that was causing the seawater intrusion. After the groundwater pumping was reduced as much as 85%, the evidence of seawater intrusion in the Oceano sentry wells disappeared. All this was described in the Northern Cities Management Area Technical Group 2008 and 2009 annual report to the Court with jurisdiction over the south bay water basin. Since the reduction of pumping, no more seawater intrusion in Oceano was measured. There has never been seawater intrusion measured or claimed in Nipomo.

The 2009 OCSD wrote a letter to the County describing the seawater intrusion. The current OSCD board (with four new members and a new general manager) denies that seawater intrusion ever occurred and and accused the old board of falsely reporting seawater intrusion to get more State Water. More State Water for Oceano would be more expensive than their current supply, so why would the old OCSD board want more expensive water unless they believed seawater intrusion threatened their supply. The new board thinks seawater intrusion is a stigma and tarnishes their reputation, yet their recent behavior does more damage to their image than a water quality issue.”

This friend is spot on. But once again because of the tone of this article everyone will jump on the CCN bandwagon.

Your post makes no sense at all. If there is seawater intrusion (which by every thing presented here, there is not) The new board is trying to rectify and stop a more costly project. It seems that the new board is acting as exactly as it should, as a protector of it’s community. You have stated that you don’t have all the info, why are you second guessing those that do and have all the information?

Sometimes being a gadfly gets you caught in the flypaper.

I’m not an engineer but I have enough information to believe that the there is salt water intrusion in the ground water. The Oceano sentry well tested positive for salt water. I have the same info that everyone else here has and it seems pretty clear. The day that I trust the OCSD over everyone else is the day Newt supports Obama. I trust that the engineers are correct over the OCSD. Why would the 5 cities municipalities want people to pay more money for state water if they could simply use ground water? What’s the gain for using state water over ground water? Why hasn’t Oceano used their ground water since it was tested? It makes sense that there’s salt water because when the sentry well was full it tested clean but when the the water table was lowered it had salt. If it was contaminated from the condition of the well then why did it test okay when Oceano stopped using it? Did the homeless people as some have insinuated dump barrels of salt water down the well and then go back and siphon it out? If you have other information then please feel free to enlighten me.

If the new board is so concerned about the cost then they should start using the ground water again and lets see what happens. You are the one second guessing the those that have the info..

Instead of making blanket assessments about a particular board edition, or someone who you think is nice, you might want to try to assess people who you choose to be your “experts” as to possible conflicts of interest they might have that would impact their opinion.

That would be a good statement if it were accurate.

Your trusted friend sounds like Mike Winn.

There may very well be saltwater intrusion along the coastline closer to the Nipomo Mesa/ 3 cities area. However, what NCSD is using to frighten their customers into accepting increased rates and an assessment on their property to pay for the pipeline is not valid, and that is the only evidence they have presented that indicates saltwater intrusion.

The access port for the ONE sentry well that tested as having the same elements as would indicate saltwater intrusion (sodium, chloride, potassium—which are also present in urine) was not secured by a lock, did not even have a cap on it, had standing filthy water with debris in it, was located in an area that floods when it rains, the grass was brown all around it, the access port was corroded, and the well was judged to be contaminated.

You cannot get a sample, in that scenario, that would produce valid findings about seawater intrusion.

Since that sample, once the repairs were made to the wells, there has been no sign of seawater (or urine) contamination.

You said you are against the development of Price Canyon. Do you really think that Pismo won’t develop Price Canyon if there is fear that there is a danger to their water supply of being contaminated by seawater? HA HA HA.

What they will likely do is what NCSD is doing: use tens of thousands of dollars on slick advertising to convince residents they need yet another source of water so existing residents won’t run out of potable water, then slap a big fat assessment on properties, and raise the rates.

There is a simple solution then. The OCSD can start pumping only their ground water, no other water source, for some logical, specified period of time and then retest the sentry wells. I sincerely doubt that the OCSD will agree to this. It is after all their image that they are trying, but failing to protect.

OCSD’s GM indicated the decision not to pump was that they have contracts for water that, if they don’t use the water, they have to pay. It was a financial decision, in other words.

Why should OCSD be forced to do anything? Since that invalid sample was taken in 2009, all over the aquifer homes and businesses have been built, and more water is being used. So it would not be a valid test, anyway because the conditions are not the same as they were when the invalid sample was obtained.

OCSD had nothing to gain–that I can see–from making this fake “saltwater intrusion” a known reality. Many other agencies have A LOT to gain from covering up the fact that the sample was invalid.

“Since that invalid sample was taken in 2009, all over the aquifer homes and businesses have been built, and more water is being used. So it would not be a valid test, anyway because the conditions are not the same as they were when the invalid sample was obtained.”

They don’t have to use their state water, as a matter of fact they have so much water that they could sell their state water (but for my cause I certainly wouldn’t want that). Where are all these homes built since 2009 and how would they impact the quality of the sentry well? Are you saying that homes built over an aquifer cause salt water intrusion?

The OCSD is outraged at these claims about of salt water intrusion, it would seem that they would want to know for sure as well appease the public as to preserve their ‘reputation’.

I wish that I could get an answer as to why they used ground water prior to testing positive for salt water intrusion. Why did they use it before and why did they suddenly stop? They had state water and Lopez water prior to the testing.

“Are you saying that homes built over an aquifer cause salt water intrusion?”

You don’t know the factors that contribute to saltwater intrusion? And you’re making rigid opinions?

These factors have already been discussed in this folder, and links have been provided by posters to other information. Educate yourself and then we’ll talk.

Well Mary, I can’t find the post that you just made that basicly says that I don’t understand what causes salt water intrusion. I have read a great deal about salt water intrusion. I have a pretty good understanding of what causes it. But I’m not going to fight with you over who knows more. Fine, the sentry well off of Pier Ave will test for salt water intrusion because homes were built over the aquifer. There you go argument’s over.


Look at the quote in my post to which you reply.

@Justducky,,,spot on! That was a point that I’ve raised but it hasn’t been answered. I find the whole ‘image’ thing sort of funny, they’re only hurting their image even more (if that’s possible) by the way that they’re handling this.

Pismo has 3 sources of water. The developers must bring their own water, they can’t use Pismo’s current water. HA HA HA. I wonder why when John King went to the Oceano Meeting to try and buy some of their state water why they wouldn’t sell it to him if they have so much water. They are hurting financially and recently had to raise their water rates and apparently is was a pretty steep increase. If they had sold some of their state water then that would solve a lot of problems for themselves. They have plenty of water if you count their ground water so why didn’t they some of their water?

And no, you are wrong about my friends identity but I’m not going to give any clues so if you mention another name no matter whether you’re right or wrong I won’t respond. But it would have been nice to have an interview for the sake of balance with Mr. Winn, he’s very knowledgeable on this issue.

It would take a lot of pee to show that there is sea water intrusion. That being said, I’m sure that the test would have be able to determine if it were urine or sea water. Plus, if I remember correctly, that well was hidden, it was buried under debris from leaves and plants. Did the homeless people bury the opening after using it or did they just coincidentally pee right where it is?

You don’t know what you are talking about.

In California, cities and other government agencies that provide water to customers take a decades-long-range view of their customers., and future potential customers., water needs. In California, our water sources are beyond tapped out: in some regions there is serious overdraft of groundwater resources to the point where aquifers have been damaged such that the quantity of water they originally were able to store can no longer be stored because of aquifer collapse or aquifer contamination.

Because of the increased competition between agricultural and residential development water needs, the Central Valley aquifers’ water availability has already been greatly decreased, and it continues to decrease at an alarming rate (http://tinyurl.com/7m5xkw6).

The NASA “GRACE” program (http://tinyurl.com/8xraxql) has been studying groundwater storage using satellite technology. If you are interested, the link in this paragraph goes to info about GRACE and California’s Central Valley. If the technical info gets too boring, just scan down to the RESULTS section.

No city or other agency, unless the leaders were the most horribly corrupt people we have yet seen in local government, would sell any of their water rights or water contracts. This is for a couple of reasons.

1. Water through the state water program is tapped out. They cannot even deliver what they have contracted to deliver. To buy water from one of the contracted water agencies would be very expensive.

2. Water from other sources are mostly tapped out.

3. California’s groundwater storage capabilities have already been decreased due to overpumping. In addition, in some areas freshwater aquifers have been contaminated by industrial, agricultural, and other forms of pollution. While California is trying to build up a head of steam to stop these practices, in reality, the future does not look good for achieving the type of drastic and major changes needed to even stop the continuing damage being done to our water resources. Our politicians are too corrupt, our government watchdog groups are too weak, and our citizens are too spoiled and too greedy.

4. Water agencies should have more than one source of water for their customers. The city of SLO and Santa Maria have enviable water portfolios. However, they have been working to build these portfolios for years, and the politicians they have had in the past have been willing to make the hard decisions necessary to insist on acquiring more water resources at a time when their customers did not perceive the need to do so. Other agencies, such as NCSD, Woodlands, and many mutual water companies, only have one source of water.

5. Climate change drives the reality that our rainfall pattern is going to continue to change, and it looks like it is changing towards less rainfall and more droughts.

6. As we all learned in Economics 101, supply and demand drives the cost of a resource, product or service. Because of the above reasons, water is going to continue to become more costly.

If you see an agency selling water now, it is either because they have such a magnificent water portfolio (as does Santa Maria) that it can afford to do so, or it has fears that its neighboring weaker-planning agencies (like NCSD), unless more water is provided to them, will suck the aquifer dry and that would bring political and civil instability, which no city manager wants to happen.

Mary earlier you complained that, “That pipeline will change the character of Nipomo forever.” You seemed to accuse the NCSD of some plot “…to bankrupt the acre- to five-ten acre property owners so they’ll be forced to sell, and then NCSD and the county can turn Nipomo into one big condo project” and seemed to suggested that perhaps the NCSD might somehow be complicit in a plot with the County to shove a low-income development down in Nipomo. “Somebody is profiting from this…,” you said, an easy accusation to make under anonymity. Some might say these are words of someone who was using…oh, I don’t know…let’s say “scare tactics.”

Yet, out of the other side of your brain you are now saying “Water agencies should have more than one source of water for their customers…It is true that the Nipomo residents use a lot more water than nature can replenish in a normal year…It is also true that bringing in another source of water is extremely prudent because the Nipomo Mesa’s “water source portfolio,” as they say in the trade, sucks big time because it only has one source: the groundwater underlying the Nipomo Mesa.”

Most of your focus in this thread seems to be technical, but what is also coming out of you loud and clear, Mary, is a lot of venom. I am still puzzled as to what your bottom line is here. You have made it very apparent that you have a lot of anger at a lot of agencies and people in the area. Do you have that all mixed up with what really needs to be done to protect the Nipomo aquifer? I hope you will be able to think clearly and separate your personal hostility and suspicions enough to simply focus on getting a good source of water for the people of Nipomo in a timely manner, because that’s what we need – not a bunch of bickering.

Also, before you make any more comments about how much urine it would take to contaminate the wells, consider the following tables listing the amount of three constituents, the presence of which indicates saltwater intrusion (if the well sample is not contaminated), and the constituents of human urine.

Also, consider that human urine samples, when tested, are thoroughly shaken so that the constituents are equally distributed throughout the sample.

Well testing for monitoring will be taken at different levels (depths).

The constituents of urine are heavier than plain water so, if not shaken throughout the sample being tested, will tend to concentrate more at the deeper levels of the sample (well, test tube, whatever).


So in your opinion is there no way to test this particular aquifer for water salt water intrusion?

What makes you think there is no way to “test this particular aquifer for water salt water intrusion”?

They have been testing all along. The problem is this: for years the sentry well access ports were in such poor condition, unsecured, and open to contamination from free-standing, urine-filled water over the well. Therefore, the samples were highly likely to be contaminated such that any studies on them would give invalid results.

It continues to be tested for saltwater intrusion. After the well access ports were serviced and repaired such that contaminants did not get into the sentry wells because of the admitted standing water around and over the access port whenever it rained.

In addition, the engineers made it a point to say that the grass cover all around the access port to the sentry well was brown. This condition could be caused by a couple of things, but the fact that it is in close proximity to a vagrant hang-out and a path from the vagrant hang-out to the large overgrowth goes right past the sentry well access port, raises the high likelihood that the “brown” is due to folks urinating on the area around, and directly over, the access port.

Engineers regularly take measurements from the sentry wells. After the wells were fixed so that they were secure, and not corroded to the point that any overlying standing water (secondary to rain) could enter the well, the readings have not indicated saltwater intrusion.

The condition of the access ports to the wells was clear to anyone who walked by them. Yet they continued to take samples, knowing they would give invalid results because of contamination.

I think the question is this: was it Todd Engineering who decided to do the tests even with the high possibility of contamination of the sentry wells? Or was someone with more power giving them orders to do it because a finding that “showed” “saltwater intrusion” would make it more likely for grants and/or loans to be approved by the state/feds?

QUOTING TYPOQUEEN: “This friend is spot on. But once again because of the tone of this article everyone will jump on the CCN bandwagon.”


The tone of the article has zip to do with the opinions of myself and many other posters here. I would appreciate it if you did not attribute motivations or influences onto other posters unless you have clear evidence to support it.

Speaking for myself, I put more credibility on the OCSD city council because their GM had to take a hit for giving in to pressure from the NMMA-TG to sign a statement indicating there was saltwater intrusion demonstrated in the problematic sentry well. If the GM was just another hack politician, I doubt he would have opened himself up to ridicule and criticism for having caved in to the NMMA-TG pressure to sign, which ended up forcing him to admit signing the document was untrue and he signed it in error.

Agencies that have large projects in the works, or who are desperately flailing around for state and fed funding and grants, and who used the sentry -well discredited sampling and finding as a reason for getting the grant/fund, are the ones who have a lot to lose if this discredible “saltwater intrusion” article.

A fair test for SWI for that well would be to not use the State water, not blend it with the supposed non-contaminated well, not use the other well they have and then see then if SWI does or does not occur. Then you would know if it was stable against SWI or not. As we know, State water is iffy (look what happened to Morro Bay), so it would not be unreasonable to see how the native water supply holds up. (We also have no idea as to the quantity that well or the other native well produces.) Lopez Lake might suffer from a drought.

Oh, but wait, the well in question has harsh water and needs treatment or blending to make it palatable! Cha-ching, cha-ching I guess! So we won’t REALLY know the answer, will we? This is not a static situation with 4 always reliable water sources is it. I mean, why did they buy State water in the first place if they had two domestic wells?

Much can be learned on Oceano water history this document, see page 9 in paticular:


Oops, “particular.”

They could test that well and get an accurate account of the condition of the water and that’s just what they need to do. Use the ground water, let the well get low and then retest it. All of these excuses are just nonesense. If worse came to worse then they could drill a new sentry well but I don’t believe that’s necessary. It’s just too much of a coincidence that Oceano would stop using it’s ground water after it tested for SWI.

Although I would like to see a more current one, thanks for the link it was interesting. I skimmed through it and it had some useful info.. Mary Lucey said that they have 4 sources of water, perhaps I missed it but I only saw three. Besides ground, Lopez and state, I wonder what the other one is?

Did I read this article correctly, “$8.5 million dollar surplus in funding from the Nacimiento water project.” This money belongs to the communities involved in the Nacimento water project and should be returned to the taxpayers to pay down the debt and not be used for other projects. Who gave WRAC (Water Resources Advisory Council) the right to distribute this money for other projects not associated this Nacimento and why are the involved cities not screaming about this. Again, taxpayers scammed!!!!!