Desert Agency & Mountain Developer Hit With Water Quality Board Actions

(September 14)  The Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board has taken action against two San Bernardino County entities – a public agency and a private development company – for actions that compromised local water supplies or waterways.  In Victorville, the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority was hit with a $700,000 fine for a series of sewage spills that took place at its wastewater treatment plant two years ago.
Lahontan has also  ordered the Arimol Group to take immediate restoration steps at its Meadowbrook Road development site in Lake Arrowhead, preparatory to the levying of fines related to violations there.
As of press time this week, a settlement agreement between the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority had been forged, whereby the authority acknowledged that it had improperly discharged nearly 43 million gallons of untreated sewage into the Mojave River over a 15-day span from late December 2010 into January 2011 after the agency’s main pipeline in the riverbed failed during a storm; that the plant discharged another 110,700 gallons of partially treated wastewater from August 22, 2010 through August 28, 2010 because of operator neglect; and that 230 gallons of partially treated wastewater from its Victorville plant were discharged into the river on June 18, 2010 as the consequence of a power outage.
The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA), which is still using a temporary bypass through the Mojave Narrows, is undertaking a $11.1 million project to move the pipeline out of the riverbed. It has also installed overflow basins.
At press time, it was anticipated that Lahontan would put its final imprimatur on the settlement, which has already been accepted by the VVWRA board. VVWRA will put $377,394 of that amount up in the form of a cash endowment from its reserves to the State Water Resources Control Board’s cleanup and abatement account. The balance –  $322,606 – will eventually be provided to construct desalter plants in the region.
In the San Bernardino Mountains, Lahontan has ordered Arimol Group and its president, Bill Moller, to initiate a trio of restoration steps at the Meadowbrook subdivision located at Meadowbrook Road and Cedar Court. The property, which is slightly larger than an acre, is adjacent to Moller’s Serenity Conference and Retreat Center. Lahontan wants channel alignments, widths and grades surveyed; a 30-inch corrugated metal pipe culvert and concrete headwall removed so to restore two creek beds to their historical flow paths; and drain rock, to prevent concentrated flows and sheet flows, placed around the perimeter of the concrete slab recently constructed on 995 Meadowbrook Road.
In general, the water board wants the Arimol group to take steps to prevent erosion and the disturbance of soil on the site.
The board first issued a notice of violation to Arimol on June 20. Arimol responded with a mitigation plan on July 20 that Lahontan considers inadequate.
Lahontan is in the initial stages of assessing administrative civil liability penalties against Arimol that will be adjudicated by the Lahontan board. Those penalties exist in the form of fines of $1,000 per day to $10,000 per day for each alleged violation.

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