In a unanimous vote on February 3, the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board voted to restrict the new installation of brine discharging type self-regenerating water softeners in homes and businesses in the ISD service area which includes Oakley and Bethel Island.
ISSUE: ISD National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit NPDES river discharge permit issued by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board in January 2013 required ISD to implement the Salinity Workplan ISD developed in 2008
The Workplan required preparing a Salinity Pollution Prevention Plan SPPP which was adopted by the ISD Board of Directors on November 4 2014 In the SPPP it was noted that up to 27 of the salinity entering the WRF was coming from brine self-regenerating water softeners ISD needs to reduce salinity conveyed to the Water Recycling Facility WRF
RECOMMENDATION It is recommended the Board open the Public Hearing receive any public input close the Public Hearing discuss any items concerns and adopt the Water Softener Ordinance
FINANCIAL IMPACTS As proposed other than minimal education and periodic enforcement costs there are no specific financial impacts associated to ISD with adoption of the Water Softener Ordinance Residents who choose to install a water softener after the Water Softener Ordinance goes into effect may pay a higher price for a softener that meets ordinance requirements than if allowed to install a brine discharging type water softener In the future should the ISD Board chose to implement additional recommendations in the SPPP associated with adopting self regenerating water softener SRWS ordinance the potential costs could be as follows.
- The costs for ISD to implement a voluntary rebate program to encourage the replacement or removal of self-regenerating water softener SRWS It is estimated there are3841 SRWS in the ISD service area If ISD offers 750 towards replacement or removal of SRWS the total rebate cost could be as much as0820801if the rebate program remained in place until all SRWS were removed replaced It is anticipated that any future rebate program if adopted by the Board would only last a specific amount of time say 35 years and be implemented in a stepped fashion to encourage earlier participation In addition Diablo Water District has agreed to contribute 02050 per year for 10 years to help with public education and outreach as well as with the possible rebate effort
- Time and effort for ISD staff and attorneys to develop and monitor a voluntary rebate program
ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERATIONS: ISD’s SPPP identified multiple sources of salinity in its water and is addressing several opportunities for salinity reduction including public education and outreach in addition to adopting this proposed ordinance As required by its NPDES permit ISD must implement ways to reduce salinity conveyed to the WRF to comply with NPDES permit requirements
The SPPP noted the breakdown of salinity sources as follows:
As is typical for most communities the water supply is the highest contributor to salinity entering the WRF Though the majority of potable water for ISD customers is surface water Diablo Water District supplements its potable water supply with two groundwater wells which are higher in salinity In addition poor potable water quality from groundwater wells on Bethel Island contributes to the high salinity entering the WRF.
Due to the high cost to improve the potable water in the ISD service area other controllable salinity sources need to be looked at One of these sources are from individual residences associated with food human waste and cleaning products ISD community outreach program is doing a great job informing our users on ways they can help reduce salinity entering the WRF
Another controllable source is from SRWS The adoption of the proposed water softener ordinance Attachment A before the Board tonight will prohibit the installation of any new brine discharging SRWS in the ISD service area This is not a ban on water softeners as it still allows non brine discharging water softeners to be installed. This is the type of ordinance recently adopted by the Discovery Bay Municipal Services District In the future the ISD Board may wish to consider implementing a voluntary removal or replacement program for SRWS.
COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION: NA
PUBLIC CONTACT: The public has been informed regarding salinity issues through ISD public outreach which includes the Insider newsletter and ISD participation in local events In addition a letter with proposed ordinance attached was sent out in early January to interested parties informing them about the proposed adoption of the water softener ordinance
RELATIONSHIP TO STRATEGIC PLAN
- VISION Enhanced environmental stewardship for multiple benefits and protecting our resources
- CORE VALUES Environmental Integrity
- PUBLIC AFFAIRS REGULATORY RELATIONS Develop and maintain strategic and beneficial ties with regulators and other governmental agencies
RECOMMENDED BOARD ACTION It is recommended after a public hearing is conducted that the ISD Board of Directors adopt the Water Softener Regulation Ordinance No 57 Order No 1505 for the Ironhouse Sanitary District.