Is Arroyo Grande violating its own water conservation laws?

September 8, 2014

water patrolBy KAREN VELIE

Amid mandatory water conservation efforts, Arroyo Grande city staff has dumped 30,000 to 50,000 gallons of potable water down the gutter while telling the code enforcement officer to ignore the situation.

After deciding to paint one of the city’s water tanks, city staff elected to drain the last 30,000 to 50,000 gallons of drinking water by letting it flow into the gutter. Arroyo Grande Utilities Supervisor Shane Taylor said it was not feasible to try to capture the water.

“That is why there is a drain,” Taylor said. “That is how we empty water. It was only about 30,000 gallons.”

Several neighbors of the water tanks said they watched the water flow down the gutter for almost 20 hours. At least one neighbor reported the criminal offense to the police department.

“Here we are conserving water and they let it run down the street,” Ralph Bush said. “It was certainly a waste in this severe drought.”

Under an Arroyo Grande water conservation ordinance, excessive water running into the gutter is punishable as a misdemeanor.

However, the city code enforcement officers serve as police officers who also take direction from the public works department. An officer said he was ordered by an upper level city manager not to look into the issue, but declined to disclose who gave him the order.

Taylor responded to questions about the water discharge by saying that the city has a permit with the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to dispose of potable water that allows the city to violate its own ordinance.

However, Michael Thomas, the water board’s assistant executive officer, said they do not give permits for potable water releases, though the board does for other types of water discharges, and that the water board does not exempt cities from violating municipal codes.

“If water meets water quality standards, it can be released,” Thomas said. “Our permits do not impact city municipal rules.”

On Aug. 26, the Arroyo Grande City Council voted to pay Verdin Marketing $70,000 to launch a public water conservation education program aimed at teaching residents and business owners how to conserve water.

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dogeatdog

Why do our parks still have lush green grass when we are in a drought. The city offers homeowners a $1 a sq ft to remove their grass, yet the parks look great. I would like to know who the top city official was.


As the world turns

Arroyo Grande’s parks are lush because the out of area tournament teams need green grass to play sports.


OnTheOtherHand

I can’t speak for all AG parks but the one at the top of James Way has definitely been given less water and is showing the effects.


kettle

Do as we say, not as we do.


Kisses, AG Management.


kayaknut

Another case where we haven’t learned the laws and rules they create are only for the little people and not for the creators. Just relax and have some tea.


taxpayer

Good point. Almost 50% of the Sacramento area doesn’t even have water meters.


roberttorrance

dont forget that AG sends out water trucks to water the plantings of Arroyo Grande in Bloom as well as the Tree Guild, both organizations have board members who sit on the city council. What does this say? “you can conserve your water, while I use your water to build my name non profits name!”


kettle

So does SLO, but that is recycled water.


OnTheOtherHand

That is one purpose for water use that I would not consider waste. Street trees need some watering to survive and risking the loss of trees would be a last ditch measure in conservation as the cost and other consequences would be large. I wouldn’t doubt that they can find other ways (including using the water from that tank for the trees) to conserve that would be less disastrous.


CAkarma

How about those new houses they are building behind OSH?That requires alto of water..The dirt and dust that blows right at my home across the freeway.. Who let that be built? Steve Adams of course..


dogeatdog

sorry CAkarma, that is being built in Pismo not AG Steve Adams has nothing to do with that


Dave

Couldn’t they have waited to paint the water tank…..like until the drought is over??????


CAkarma

So Dave, who is responsible for that building project..? Is it the county supervisors? I am just amazed they are building in a drought. . It’s hard enough to get in and out of OSH now. Wait till all the new owners move in.

That is why I am voting for Lynn Compton , very tired of all the building.


OnTheOtherHand

I don’t think the County has anything to do with either the water tank or the building project by OSH. (I believe that is City of Pismo Beach).


In either case, I don’t think that Lynn Compton would be inclined to oppose the project even if she had a say in it. I would guess that her basic philosophical beliefs would be to allow anything that meets basic and reasonable regulations. If you are looking for a “no-growth” or even “slow growth” candidate for the BoS, you are probably out of luck.


tomsquawk

what ever happened to water trucks? ““That is why there is a drain,” Taylor said. “That is how we empty water. It was only about 30,000 gallons.”


only. get creative and set a good example.


while the city beats me up about how many minutes i can water i would have gladly paid for a truck to drive by and sell me some of that water to put in my holding tank. that would be a good business.


kayaknut

Why don’t we send a bill for the water to Shane Taylor?


pasoparent5

“It was ONLY about 30,000 gallons.”


Wow, just plain wow!


As the world turns

Another example of city of Arroyo Grande arrogance. However, Michael Thomas skirted the issue – does the Water Board know whether the water being released meets water quality standards? If an agricultural operator dumped water, no doubt, Michael Thomas and his agency would be all over them like a wet suit.


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