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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Seriously folks, how can we expect the city to find a use for 30-50K gallons of water when they only approved the consultant, (who’s going to set up a web page to teach us the benefits of taking shorter showers) a mere two weeks ago?


If the City has a Permit to discharge during routine maintenance and repairs, then they are good to go. But the perception is do as we tell you, not as we do – otherwise the Director McInsh would have a lot of house calls to make. But they could have drained the tank back into the system for use, then made the repairs. Taylor is just another idiot he thinks he has something the rest of us need to hear regardless of the facts.

However, the picture reveals a “Water Patrol” idiot violating property owners rights to privacy and excessive intrusion by authorities. He has clearly exceeded his legal authority by peering over the fence while standing on his toes.


Who should enforce this, CHP or sheriff?


Ah, something from the self absorbed racist! So you crawled back out again.

Mr. Holly

Permit or no permit this is as stupid as you can get. Where is the city going to get their water for their tea breaks.

Tony needs to take a walk. Everyone knows you the unnamed official was.


‘Bout two gallons per A.G. resident. Not a big deal.


They decided to paint the tank? Then why couldn’t it wait a few days until the water was used? I swear, every day I wake up I find that government officials are getting dumber and dumber. Unbelievable!


The daily fishwrap indicates that the final 30K gallons is the dregs, or settling, portion of the tank. Probably not appropriate to pump into the City’s supply lines.

Insensitive timing, but it is not a big deal.


Okay then, let people load it up and haul it away for irrigation.


Yes. That would have been a good P.R. move.

Even though it would’ve taken a couple days of someone’s time to supervise the loading, some amount to advertise the availability, and additional liability insurance to have load-unsavvy trailer backers rolling around the water plant.


We really need a new way to determine rate increases for Water and South County Sanitation. These “Automatic Increases” without a real democratic vote remind me of property taxes, before prop. 13 .

They have no incentive to reduce waste, costs, or become more efficient with the peoples natural resources. They are out of control with an Open Checkbook.


Government has only one incentive: grow itself. This includes salaries and pay packages, staff, and most disturbingly, intrusion and control of other people’s lives, homes and businesses.

Reduction of waste and costs or increase in efficiency are just never going to happen. Yet how many of us thought government health care was (is?) a good idea? We do, indeed, get the government we deserve.


I go to extreme measures to try and save a few gallons here and there. And then these morons who are not accountable for their actions waste over 30,000 gallons….this is why we all need to cut back on government!!!!


“Arroyo Grande city staff has dumped 30,000 to 50,000 gallons of potable water down the gutter”

Did Adams and McClish drown?


kayaknut. how about you just start sending folks down to use HIS toilet. hey it appears he has the water to just flush away at taxpayers cost!