Nutrients: Let your voice be heard!

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The Regional Water Quality Control Board recently issued a tentative order on nutrients in treated wastewater that would have significant financial impacts for Central San’s customers.  

To meet the Water Board’s proposed steep nutrient reduction requirements and short timeline, the Bay Area’s wastewater utilities will need to spend more than $11 billion—costs that ultimately will be borne by our customers. Under the Water Board’s proposed order, Central San customers alone would be on the hook for $665 million—or nearly $5,500 per household when debt service is taken into account—with no assurance that these costs will have the intended benefit for San Francisco Bay.  

WHAT ARE NUTRIENTS?

Wastewater contains nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from human waste, food waste, and various soaps/detergents. Nutrients are essential to sustain life, but there is a balance. Too many can be too much of a good thing.

Central San is deeply committed to protecting the health of the Bay and supports the reduction of nutrients entering the Bay. We and other Bay Area wastewater utilities are urging the Water Board to allow more time to complete the necessary science and develop financially sound, multi-benefit solutions for nutrient management in the Bay that are worthy of the investment by Bay Area residents.  

Let Your Voice Be Heard 

The Water Board is accepting public comments on the proposed order until 5:00 pm, Wednesday, May 8, and will hold a public hearing on June 12, 2024. Please ask the Water Board to: 

  • Grant a 90-day extension to the comment period to allow the public adequate time to provide input on this important and financially impactful decision. 
  • Conduct a hearing of community concerns before considering adoption of the order. 
  • Allow time for the necessary scientific research to better understand nutrient reductions that will benefit the Bay. 
  • Develop a financial analysis to determine how the proposed order will impact Bay Area residents, as well as how we can mitigate this significant burden—which comes on top of numerous other essential infrastructure needs—for our communities.   
  • Support development of multi-benefit solutions that are worthy of the investment by Bay Area residents, including regional recycled water projects that would reduce nutrient impacts to the Bay while also conserving precious water supplies.

A sample public comment letter is provided:

Central San Customers

Other Bay Area Residents

Submit comments to: 

Mr. Robert Schlipf, P.E.
Water Resource Control Engineer
California Regional Water Quality Control Board
San Francisco Bay Region
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1400
Oakland, CA  94612  

Email: Robert.Schlipf@waterboards.ca.gov 

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