State water board going overboard

By: Ed Koons
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The State Water Quality Board is on the brink of issuing new regulations that will require rural property owners to pay to have their wells and septic systems tested every 5 years at a cost of $650. The new regulations are being enacted supposedly for the purpose of improving water quality in the state. Although the new regulations impose substantial financial burdens on rural property owners, the regulations do not make any measurable incremental improvement in water quality. According to the board’s own study, the failure rate for onsite wastewater treatment systems is less than 1 percent. The board, however does not attempt to quantify the environmental effect of the 1 percent failure rate, or to compare the impact of these failed systems to other sources of water contamination. The board, in its draft Environmental Impact Report admits that “…placing a dollar value on these project-related water quality improvements is very difficult and too speculative given the lack of data and limited ability to isolate the incremental effects of the proposed project relative to other pollution sources…” The proposed regulations are a very expensive and burdensome fix to something that we are not even sure is broken. I would not object to the proposed regulations if the need for the regulations were clear and if there was good reason to believe that the $650 expense I would bear every 5 years would actually produce a tangible improvement to water quality. But so far as I can tell, the new regulations are not worth the cost. Call Assemblyman Ted Gaines and ask him to repeal AB 885. Also, write to the Water Quality Control Board at PO Box 2231, Sacramento, CA 95812 and tell them we don’t need these wasteful, costly regulations. Ed Koons Auburn