Sanitation district smacked with $1.4 million proposed fine

June 19, 2012

John Wallace


Ratepayers in the communities of  Arroyo Grande, Oceano, and Grover Beach are facing increased utility bills to cover a $1,383,007 proposed fine for a raw sewage spill that occurred because of alleged mismanagement of the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District, according to a complaint lodged Monday by the Regional Water Resources Control Board.

In the complaint, prosecutors accuse district administrator John Wallace of not properly maintaining or operating the plant and failing to properly report incidents to regulators. Wallace is the owner and president of the Wallace Group, a private engineering consulting firm located in San Luis Obispo that receives from $50,000 to $80,000 a month for plant administration and engineering services.

“The water board’s enforcement team is proposing a reasonable penalty in this case based on the evidence, the law, and previous cases,” said Michael Thomas, assistant executive officer for the Regional Water Board.

“A preventable sewage spill of more than a million gallons is a serious issue, and one of the main purposes of enforcement is to deter future violations,” Thomas said. “Unfortunately, we were unable to reach a negotiated settlement with the sanitation district because, based on the facts and our experience, the district’s spill amount calculations weren’t reasonable. So we scheduled this matter for a public hearing, where the water board itself will decide the outcome.“

In addition, regulators accuse Wallace of using a methodology to estimate the 1,139,825 gallon spill that is “inaccurate and unreliable.” Instead of relying on approved spill calculation methods such as using computer graphs of influent at the time of the electrical failure and historical data, Wallace used eyewitness accounts of  sewage pouring out of manhole covers.

Shortly after the Dec. 19, 2010 spill, which was caused by an electrical shortage of outdated wiring that had been slated to be replaced for years, Wallace estimated 110,000 gallons of sewage had spilled into the community of Oceano, local waterways, and the Pacific Ocean.

Three days later, plant operators reported a 894,600 gallon spill to regulators. By Jan. 3, 2010, Wallace, using a  method created by his staff at the Wallace Group, reported the spill at 383,200 gallons. In 2011, following a notice of violation from state regulators, Wallace increase the reported sewage spill amount to 417,298 gallons.

In arriving at 1.4 million gallons, regulators took the approximately 3 million gallons of raw sewage entering the plant during the failure and subtracted almost 2 million gallons of sewage that bypassed the failed pump and entered the treatment plant (based on an effluent meter that operated correctly during the failure), according to the water boards’ technical report of the spill.

Regulators have set a tentative public hearing on the complaint for Sept. 6 at the water board office in San Luis Obispo. At the hearing, sanitation district officials will have an opportunity to argue against the complaint.

The district, which serves the residents of the Oceano Community Service District, Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach, is governed by a three person board consisting of one representative from each community.



  1. doggin says:

    Looks like Karen will need to rewrite the first few paragraphs after reading the Districts latest Board pack. No, they wont need to raise the rates to pay for the fines because their above the law, but they will need to raise the rates because all the latest in Major Budget Items (MBI) items that have historically offered little or nothing to improve plant effluent quality and naturally Wallace will engineer,manage,administrate and write multi page book like over priced P.O’s. for is going to take the District into insolvency. This is of course is unless construction of new homes and hook ups increase’s 1000 fold in 5 cities. Cant see that happening so whats next? they raise the rates or get a loan from the State Revolving Fund aka SRF. Gee….who could have guessed this was coming?

    (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
    • blacksmith says:

      What are you contributing to the main subject? Nothing! Hypocrisy much?

      (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  2. blacksmith says:

    I want to disclose some information that may be harmful to me, but also Kevin P. Rice (aka Slorider)

    I was part of Mr. Rice’s trusted circle untlil about a year ago. I want to explain how things work.

    Myself, along with handfull of other people were given a group email everytime a article came out in the newspaper that was not conducive to our position. The main idea was that anything that had anything negative to say about the Oceano Dunes (OHV and riders), and any article that dealt with people that wanted the Dunes to be regulated in any fashion, to be given a negative review.

    We were told to log in to these various news agencies throughout the county and give anyone who was sticking up for these people a negative rating. We were also given a list of blogger’s names that questioned the position of the cause, and were told to give these people bad ratings as well. This was meant to put our postion in a positive light, and undermine the “enemies” to the cause.

    This has been going on several years, and I’m seeing the incredible harm it has done some very nice people. This is why I feel the need to speak out now. I also cannot prescribe any longer to Mr. Rice’s tactics.

    Kevin, you know who I am. Please stop!

    (-2) 16 Total Votes - 7 up - 9 down
    • SLORider says:

      Well, well… another anonymous liar making up more gossip. Proves my point about anonymous cowards quite well.

      No, I don’t know you and I have never operated in the way you feign in your untruthful post.

      Have a nice day.

      (-3) 11 Total Votes - 4 up - 7 down
      • blacksmith says:

        So you never told me that you enjoyed manipulating the perceptions of others in these blogs. And worse, laughed about it.

        What people need to understand is that you are making a 6 figure income by being the OHV champion. It should be obvious to most people that this is pretty much your full time job. I think I might post your schedule for last year at this time. You went to everyOHV meeting, you answered every blog within a 200 mile radius, you wrote articles for the pro OHV. When did you find the time to work? Or a social life?

        I guess I’m going to make the list for the bad reviews next. Give them to me Kevin. Blacksmith is to be given thumbs down regardless of the context. You said that about another person just recently didn’t you? Prove that what I have said is the truth! I await your negative comments and thumbs down, from you and your “posse”

        (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
        • SLORider says:

          Clever fabrications. I have never known or been friends with you, nor is anything you state remotely true.

          You certainly embody the filthiest sort of liar, which once again highlights why you are posting anonymously and will never be capable of doing anything else.

          Let’s return now to the topic of this article, shall we? I’m sure everyone would appreciate that. I suggest you submit an opinion piece to CalCoastNews if you wish to state and debate your beliefs further, and I will be happy to engage you at that point when it is on topic.

          Best regards. :)

          (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
          • blacksmith says:

            Hold on. First you say you don’t know who I am. Next you say you have never been friends with me. How can you say you haven’t been friends with me if you don’t know who I am? Lies. In which comment where you telling the truth? 1.) Don’t know you? or 2.) Never been friends? or 3.) Both comments (check mark here)

            I’m glad you don’t deny the rest of what I said about the six figure salary, on the payroll of the OHV enthusiasts, or actual manipulation of the perceptions of the people by concerted effort of a group of like minded people.

            You are very anxious to return to the topic of the discussion? Let everyone count the number of off topic posts SLORider has posted on this thread. He is only interested in returning to the topic when he can’t stand the heat.

            The heat is on!

            (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
            • SLORider says:

              Nothing you state is true. It’s called ‘false attribution’ which is logical fallacy.

              I am highly interested in debating this topic, but in the proper forum. Please write an opinion piece and we can debate in the ensuing comment section.

              (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
              • R.Hodin says:

                See how you are! You steal everything! First you stole “3 Amigos” to try to apply it to the current BOS, and now you’re stealing my advice that you write your own column and deflecting it onto one of your unrelenting foes. Thievery! You snipe-molesting cod-piece! You swaggering guttersnipe! Off with your heads — both of them!!

                (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
                • SLORider says:

                  NOW THAT’S IRONY!

                  The Three Amigos is a 1986 movie. You’re claiming some sort of thievery for ripping it off from the previous thieves? Three Amigos has been used dozens of places long before SLO County stole it as a euphemistic ad homimen.

                  Here’s one from 2004 (

                  “The Three Amigos is a series of twenty Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in the form of short comedic sketches, featuring three animated, talking condoms.” Sounds like the current board to me.

                  (2) 8 Total Votes - 5 up - 3 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      ROFLMAO! You think this is worth posting about…why?

      Heavens to Murgatroyd, what will be your next shocker? Male cops don’t give attractive young flirty women traffic tickets? NO! It can’t be true!!

      This is a widespread practice, and why the rating system is so useless, especially since the majority of message boards fail to limit their users to one account.

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down
  3. SLORider says:

    WiseGuy wrote, “Kevin… He’s got a hidden agenda, as always.”

    Please explain that. Be sure to explain how you hide behind anonymity and your agenda is transparent, but I post using a link that identifies me but my agenda is hidden. This should be interesting. I’m waiting.

    (10) 18 Total Votes - 14 up - 4 down
    • WiseGuy says:

      My agenda, in this case, is to warn people about Kevin P. Rice. I have seen him bald-face lie at public meetings, mislead the public in election campaigns, try to intimidate people in various ways. And he always tries to get the family name and address and other information of people who speak out against him and his tactics.

      What he did to environmental activist Bill Deneen is shameful but only a tiny hint of the kind of things Rife is capable of and inclined toward.

      The fact that Rice knows how to smile and glad-hand people and act innocent, simply makes the situation worse. He thought that by being open about his “real” identity he would gain credibility with the public but we now see that is simply part of the con.

      Rice doesn’t live anywhere near the South County Sanitation District, his own districts sanitation system has problems, yet he spends an inordinate amount of time trying to “help” others even though he isn’t a particularly charitable or philanthropic man.

      Adam Hill wouldn’t put up with Rice’s antics, so Rice spent thousands of dollars on sleazy, misleading advertisements that tried to discredit Mr. Hill. Instead, his efforts likely derailed the political future of Ed Waage who was foolish enough to allow himself to be blatantly used as part of Rice’s vengeance strategy.

      I can’t possibly claim to know all of what is on Kevin Rice’s agenda, but of what I have seen, I don’t like. I find him astoundingly two-faced and wouldn’t trust him about anything. He could start handing me money, but I would never dare take a cent of it. I would consider it tainted.

      (-4) 20 Total Votes - 8 up - 12 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        IMO, what you are doing is focusing on the messenger instead of the message.

        It doesn’t matter if a person is opining about one of their own hot-button issues, about which they opine quite a bit. What matters is the content of the message, whether it contains logical fallacies (such as “attacking the messenger”), and whether the evidence included in the opinion is credible.

        It seems that you cannot attack the credibility of the content of Rice’s opinion and so must stoop to using logical fallacies in an attempt to sidetrack the discussion to Rice’s personal character.

        (3) 13 Total Votes - 8 up - 5 down
      • SLORider says:

        I could say the same about you and your lying friends, but only one of us is willing to attach our name to our claims, and anonymous claims don’t hold a shred of credibility. In short, you’re a liar and coward. Have a nice day, despite.

        (6) 14 Total Votes - 10 up - 4 down
        • WiseGuy says:

          What have I lied about? Nothing that I know of. But if you have something, feel free to spell it out for us.

          (-10) 14 Total Votes - 2 up - 12 down
      • blondehare says:

        Wiseguy I applaud you for standing up and letting us know this. It takes courage and wisdom and only a stand up person to out someone who lies.. Cheats people. We need more people in this small community to stand up to this. Most people do not as they are fearful of losing their jobs. Their friends. Or to be called crazy.. If more people stood up to corruption we would be better off. Keep staying honest and again.. good for you.. ..

        (0) 18 Total Votes - 9 up - 9 down
        • SLORider says:

          It takes no courage to post anonymously, “blondehare”. From what standard can you back up such fallacy? If you are right, then *do please* stand up. It is the right and moral way to act and confront grievances, and I would be happy to discuss them in a right and moral forum, but not with anonymous lying cowards.

          (4) 16 Total Votes - 10 up - 6 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      It doesn’t matter whether the poster is anonymous or not. On the internet, using screen names instead of one’s legal name is a common practice. Indeed, those who specialize in internet security specialists recommend that internet users reveal as little information about themselves (including their legal name) as possible.

      You are using the same scurrilous tactic that Wise Guy is using: instead of attacking the opinion, you are attacking the person.

      (-8) 10 Total Votes - 1 up - 9 down
      • SLORider says:

        While posting anonymous opinions on the Internet is “common practice”, it is still hearsay and cannot be considered credible and is not admissible as credible in any adjudicatory forum. It’s gossip.

        (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          The credibility is not in the identity of the person, but in what they post.

          I am disappointed in you if you do not know this basic concept about debate.

          (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
          • SLORider says:


            In the American justice system credibility applies to any person who testifies in person, or via written and signed declaration. The identity of a person is fundamental and essential. Where identity is not supplied words are mere hearsay and are inadmissible.

            The only purpose of posting anonymously is to avoid the responsibility of personal attachment. In short: it is always either cowardice or hidden agenda. Anonymity has no other purpose.

            (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
            • doggin says:

              Perhaps in the book your getting this from but in reality I’ll debate this any day of the week. The subject matter of this article is a perfect example. Multiple eyewitness accounts of violations provided to authorities in written statements,verbal or formal documents and still no charges were perused because of a lack of evidence.

              (3) 3 Total Votes - 3 up - 0 down
            • MaryMalone says:

              You are wrong. You cannot possibly know the many reasons people choose to use anonymous names on the internet.

              The implication that there is something wrong or sinister about using an anonymous name will always cripple your argument, SLORider. It is a red herring, and as credible as trying to indicate there is something wrong about buying a home next to an elementary school.

              Using the Jerry Sandusky crimes as a metaphor…

              It is legal, it is frequently done, and there is nothing sinister about the PRACTICE of buying a home next to an elementary school.

              However, if your habit is to groom and then sexually assault young males, you gradually develop a path that leads from your home directly to a back fence of the elementary school, and you build a deck on your home that gives a better vantage point for viewing the children playing at the school, then, yes, there may be something sinister about buying a home right next to an elementary school.

              But it only becomes sinister when the intent of the person doing the action (in this case, buying a home smack-dab next to an elementary school) is to do harm.

              The fact that you use a screen name “SLORider,” using your logic, indicates your posts are not credible and there is something wrong with your using “SLORider” as a screen name instead of your legal name.

              Again, using your logic, we have only your word that SLORider is the only screen name you use. Using your logic, your opinions are now not credible because you use a screen name. Your word cannot be trusted if you are not credible.

              Therefore, using your logic, your use of a screen name means you are not credible. If you are not credible, you may be actually using several screen names. Finally, using a screen name means you have an agenda and your opinions, and you, cannot be trusted because you lack credibility.

              (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
              • SLORider says:


                Again, you are incorrect. An anonymous person can never attain credibility because they have everything to hide and nothing to lose. It’s as simple as that.

                Though I use a screen name it is not anonymous–your argument falls flat on that point, and the implications and extensions you presume as “logic” are not logic nor were implied.

                (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      He probably doesn’t know what the “hidden agenda” is…because it is hidden. Tres convenient in attacking-the-messenger frenzies.

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
  4. Paperboys says:

    Wow, this went from a possible $30 million fine to $1.4 million in less than a month. The San-Dist will get it dropped even further before reaching a settlement. The water board will take less and get the district through the settlement agreement.Put them on notice and institute a time schedule order for repairs and/or upgrades it wants to see done. That’s when the district will go for a rate hike.
    A $1.4 million fine isn’t enough to raise rates over. Insurance or reserves will cover that.
    The key is just what does the water board have up its sleeve. To use this accident to justify forcing changes in the plant, is an old ploy.
    They can’t be serious about holding the District liable for something caused by “delayed maintenance” becuase if they are, then every city, county, state and federal government would be guilty.
    Could be the water board is going to try and force recycling of the wastewater if they aren’t doing that now. That seems to be the current push these days for wastewater.
    Depending on how it would be used, WW reuse could run in the milions. Figure at the least, the plant will have to undergo a full inspection and get caught up on any and all maintenance issues.
    My prediction is that such and inspection report by an independent engineering firm will be the next thing that happens, along with a report on the current condition of the plant and a work plan with cost estimstes, rate hike options, etc…

    (9) 9 Total Votes - 9 up - 0 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      It might help if you had some information about a subject before you posted.

      (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
      • SLORider says:

        “instead of attacking the opinion, you are attacking the person.” ???

        (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          No, I’m attacking the information posted by a poster.

          You know, the vast majority of the time I don’t look at the name of the poster before I read their post and post a reply (if I post a reply).

          It is much easier to be objective about the opinion, for most people, if the identity of the person opining is not known.

          (0) 4 Total Votes - 2 up - 2 down
        • doggin says:

          Why don’t you offer something informative about the news article instead of putting your complaints in the spotlight. Most here obviously don’t care what you think is true or not and if you’d like to discuss it further Id be glad to meet with you at the meeting Sept 6th, you will be there wont you?

          (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
          • doggin says:

            Not directed at you MM, this is for Kevin.

            (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
            • MaryMalone says:

              Shoot. I thought you were asking me out on a date. =)

              (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
          • SLORider says:

            Sept 6? I have no idea. On your first point, go back and look at my first post prior to the off-topic diversions posted by others.

            (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  5. WiseGuy says:

    SLOrider, aka, Kevin P. Rice, does not live within the sanitation district. He’s got a hidden agenda, as always.

    (-5) 15 Total Votes - 5 up - 10 down
    • SLOChuck says:

      You don’t need to live within the San Dist’s boundaries to see and be appalled by the corruption here.
      As we’ve seen, the ratepayers within that area aren’t doing enough themselves, it looks like they need all the outside help they can get.

      (10) 14 Total Votes - 12 up - 2 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        Others should be appalled, including those who don’t live in the district. In general, their awareness of the problem and any efforts to help would be most welcome. But, no matter how he terms it, I would be very reluctant to accept any type of political “help” from Kevin P. Rice. I don’t trust the guy, even if he claims to be on my “side”. Call me skeptical in the way the Trojans should have been when the Greeks tried to “help” them by presenting the citizens of Troy with a big, hollow wooden horse.

        (-4) 10 Total Votes - 3 up - 7 down
    • As the world turns says:

      It is wrong to mention a person’s real name, as WiseGuy has done. Regardless of whether you agree with a person’s opinion or not, identifying someone is morally and ethically wrong.

      (6) 16 Total Votes - 11 up - 5 down
      • R.Hodin says:

        You must be new here. Why Kevin P. Rice still posts with his various pseudonyms is the real mystery.

        (-3) 13 Total Votes - 5 up - 8 down
        • SLORider says:

          I have one user name, and like yours, it links straight to my web page with the addition of a photo and contact information. Why morons like Wiseguy point out the obvious is beyond me. Makes him look stupid, IMO. Why it’s Kevin P. Rice!! Well… duh!

          At least you use your real name, but honestly, the old accusation of multiple user names is just a false ploy used in attempt to diminish opposing views by asserting there is only one opponent instead of several. I’m sorry to disappoint you as I only have one account.

          (4) 8 Total Votes - 6 up - 2 down
          • R.Hodin says:

            How many accounts you have is not the point. As you’re aware, only a few posters here actually have created accounts. The majority post with pseudonyms. It’s a quirk with CCN that people are able to post without creating accounts. You could be posting under twenty “handles” plus your one account, for all we know.

            (-6) 10 Total Votes - 2 up - 8 down
            • Spork says:

              R.Hodin says: “As you’re aware, only a few posters here actually have created accounts. The majority post with pseudonyms. It’s a quirk with CCN that people are able to post without creating accounts.”

              Bullshit, gossip in fact. Old gossip.

              (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
            • WiseGuy says:

              Mr. Hodin, you are wise to carefully parse every statement made by Mr. Rice.

              Mr. Rice, your government job gives you plenty of opportunity to assist others in a very hands-on, very noble way that literally could save lives. It is what you were trained to do Take it seriously. Be very good at it. We will ALL benefit by that and most of us will be appreciative. This other stuff, I think it does more harm than good.

              May God bless you with the wisdom to let go of what no longer serves you well.

              (-2) 8 Total Votes - 3 up - 5 down
            • SLORider says:


              I am not aware of any way to log in and post without an account. Unless you can describe such a method I don’t believe you. As I am not aware of such a method, similarly I don’t not use any method to post other than by using my one and only account.

              Further, planting unprovable speculation is simply just another method of fallacious argumentation. It is nothing more than a “poison pill” equivalent to gossip and hearsay, which we both know is inadmissible in any rational proceeding.

              Thus, if you wish to comment rationally, I recommend sticking to things that are real, that you have witnessed or can show evidence of, and that you can prove.

              Suppositions that I post using multiple pseudonyms are lies and are untrue. I have only ever posted using this account which links to my clearly discerned identity.

              Best wishes.

              (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          It doesn’t matter if there are people who know SloRider’s legal name. He posted under “SloRider,” and that is to whom you should reply.

          This is just another form of “attacking the messenger” instead of the message. What is it about SloRider’s opinion that you don’t agree with?

          (5) 7 Total Votes - 6 up - 1 down
          • SLORider says:

            I partially disagree, and partially concur.

            If someone wishes to personally attack they should take responsibility and stand behind their words by identifying them self. This aligns with the standard American system of having a right to know and face your accuser.

            Those who attack anonymously are cowards, often liars, and can be ascribed no credibility without presenting evidence and offering an opportunity for cross-examination. Even still, such anonymous persons cowardly leave themselves an “out” where they can simply pull the ejection seat lever and disappear if their accusations fail. It is not generally accepted that persons should be allowed to cause damage with no recourse. The words “vandal” and “terrorist” might apply to such anonymous parties.

            In regards to ad hominem, it is the lowest and most resorted to form of false argumentation. It is false argumentation because it ignores addressing the points averred and, instead, diverts attention to an off-topic discussion. I’m glad you recognized it here; occasionally ad hominem appears in more subtle form.

            (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
      • WiseGuy says:

        I agree with you. But in Rice’s case, he routinely points out that he is behind the SLOrider pseudonym and freely shares his name, Kevin P. Rice, with the public in that regard. So, in other words, I was not “outing” his “true identity.” In fact, he seems to like seeing his name. Also, there is another prominent “Kevin Rice” in our community, so I make it a point to include the middle initial so as not to confuse anyone with the real Kevin P. Rice, aka SLOrider, aka “IntegritySLO” and who knows what else.

        (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down

Comments are closed.