Whiskey’s for drink’n, water’s for dumping
August 16, 2013
OPINION By JULIE TACKER
Millions of gallons of groundwater of unknown water quality is currently being dumped into the Morro Bay National Estuary 24/7.
The Los Osos Wastewater Project’s “last resort” location has become “Option 1” to discharge dewatering water from the construction trenching into the estuary, a state marine reserve, with estimated flows exceeding eight million gallons per day.
County staff explains they have a permit to discharge in this manner and are exercising their interpretation of this permit. The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board wants more information before they sign-off on this disposal. The County is dumping this water, regardless of the promises made to the community, California Coastal Commission and the Regional Board.
If this water is clean enough to dump to the bay, it’s clean enough to provide beneficial use, somewhere, anywhere, but lost to the sea. It is unknown if this water will damage the fragile ecosystem of the estuary, characterized as “temporary,” only the creatures caught in the balance can determine to what extent this change in flows will have.
Meanwhile, Los Osos was certified level severity III of the resource management system, it and surrounding communities are clamoring for water. This is the best the county public works department, under the watchful eye of Supervisor Bruce Gibson, could come up with.