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We need a wastewater collection and treatment system to protect groundwater quality and comply with a State mandate prohibiting discharge from septic tanks in our area. Septic system discharge has been slowly degrading local water quality for decades. Nitrates and other contaminants from septic system discharge are currently reaching groundwater.
In 2011, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board passed a resolution that will prohibit discharge from septic tanks in parts of Yucca Valley starting with Phase One on May 19, 2016, June 30, 2021, with Phases Two and Three to follow on May 19, 2019, and 2022 2025, respectively. If residents continue to discharge, they may be fined up to $5,000 daily by the State Board. This project is a comprehensive solution that will ensure compliance and protect groundwater quality at the lowest possible cost while giving Hi-Desert Water District customers access to a reliable and affordable sewer system.
Septic system discharge leaves behind nitrates and other contaminants that are absorbed into the soil and eventually reach the water that is stored naturally underground in our aquifer. These contaminants degrade the quality of our aquifer over time. Hi-Desert Water District relies on groundwater from the aquifer to deliver clean, safe drinking water to your home.
This project would replace septic systems and their negative environmental impacts on water quality with a sewer system that collects wastewater and delivers it to a treatment plant, where it will be processed and treated until it is clean enough to be recharged into the aquifer without compromising water quality.
According to its revised Basin Plan amendment, the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board has extended the prohibition dates in the Town of Yucca Valley to June 30, 2021, for Phase 1, and for Phase 2 and 3 December 31, 2025. This means that, as of those dates, property owners within the corresponding phases will have to cease discharging from their septic systems.
The Regional Board's Enforcement Staff will implement prompt, consistent, fair, and progressive enforcement to bring anyone who fails to stop discharging into compliance. The following can be used against individual property owners:
implement prompt, consistent, fair, and progressive enforcement
The prohibitions will take effect whether or not the Wastewater Reclamation Project moves forward. If the project does not move ahead, property owners would be required to comply with the mandate individually or face enforcement actions. Hi-Desert Water District is attempting to create a community-wide solution.
The Regional Water Quality Control Board requires us to protect the groundwater supply, not just treat water before delivering it. Because treating the water at the wells would not address the potentially irreversible contamination of the groundwater supply, this method will not solve our problem, and the Regional Board will not allow it.
Construction will start approximately 14 months after the approval of the Assessment District.
Modern wastewater treatment facilities use a number of technologies that effectively minimize odors. Hi-Desert Water District’s new facility would utilize these advancements, resulting in very few odor problems.
It will be returned to our groundwater supply through on-site recharge ponds and will be extracted at a later date through a production well.
All roads with existing pavement in Phase 1 will be repaved after the sewer line has been installed.