May Luncheon: Water Quality, MS4, and the State Drinking Water Program
On May 21st, the Association hosted a distinguished lineup of speakers.
Randall Neudeck emphasized the importance of northern California's Bay Delta for the entire state's water supply, contrasting the size and resiliency of the Bay Delta watershed to the Colorado River system which covers a much greater area and is better able to endure longer periods of drought.
Salt-water intrusion in the delta is a serious threat to both the delta ecosystem and the supply of high quality water to the rest of the state. Some of the other risks the delta faces include fishery declines, land subsidence, seismic activity and sea level rise. Mr. Neudeck also discussed the impact closer to home if no solution is reached. An engaging presentation, Salinity in the Delta will remain a topic the Association will watch and invest resources in for the future of the San Gabriel Valley.
Mary Lynn Coffee presented Public Water System Discharges, explaining the differences between them and the permits and legal requirements associated with them. In particular, she discussed the differences between the current regional MS4 permits and the proposed statewide permits and limitations for the new approach to discharge permits. She discussed the problems of a 'one-size-fits-all' approach for MS4s and public water systems and the issues that agencies like the LA County Flood Control District could face under the new permit requirements. Her experience and current work makes her a valuable resource and respected authority on this topic and we are grateful for her time.
David Kimbrough joined Ms. Coffee in discussing the MS4 permits, expanding on some of the nuances in the conflict between Community Water Systems and MS4 Permittees. He detailed the issues of contention between these groups and the path of resolution in their Memoranda of Understanding (MOU's). He then introduced the complicating factors present in the proposed Statewide CWS Permit. Mr. Kimbrough's presentation further rounded out the discussion of the potential changes to the discharge permit system and will continue to encourage the conversation between agencies that are affected by these changes.
Adan Ortega then gave a brief update on the Safe Drinking Water Program transfer. He addressed the recently proposed trailer bill language and the leadership structure of the program, mentioning that the Safe Drinking Water Deputy Director will report to the State Water Board Executive Director. He also discussed what is not reflected in the trailer bill, namely a transition advisory group and the presence of water agency representation and local health and environmental officers. Mr. Ortega has held an active leadership role in multiple capacities in the water industry across the state throughout his career.
This multi-dimensional presentation provided luncheon attendees with the opportunity to receive updates and clarification on some of the bigger issues affecting the state and our region and hopefully move dialogue and cooperation forward between agencies and individuals.
We thank the speakers for their time and material!