A state water agency levied thousands of dollars in penalties against East Bay Municipal Utility District on Wednesday morning.
The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board fined EBMUD $6,000 for twice having too much chlorine in backwash water that was discharged into an unlined pond that ultimately made its way from Pardee Reservoir to the Mokelumne River. The state agency is responsible for preserving and enhancing the quality of water resources in California.
A regulator with the state agency downplayed the significance of EBMUD's infraction.
"There were only two violations in a year-and-a-half," said Wendy Wyels, program manager for the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. "That's not too bad."
The infraction came when EBMUD was rebuilding its backwash pond at its Pardee Reservoir Water Treatment Plant, EBMUD spokesman Charles Hardy said.
"While we were rebuilding, the tests came due and the samples failed," he said. "When a sample comes up dirty, that's what they are supposed to do."
The pond has been rebuilt and conforms to all regulations and codes, he said.
EBMUD has 30 days to pay the fine or schedule a hearing to protest against it. Hardy said EBMUD will pay the fine.
The Freeport Regional Water Authority also faces $6,000 in fines because water it used to test pipeline was over the effluent limit for suspended solids. Due to the tests, the water was discharged to tributaries that feed the Sacramento River.
Hardy said the incident took place during construction of the Water Pipeline Intake Facilities Project and the contractor self-reported the violation. The Freeport Regional Water Authority is a joint effort of EBMUD and the Sacramento County Water Agency to supply surface water from the Sacramento River to customers in central Sacramento County and the East Bay of California.
The firm, Beatty Construction, will pay the bill, he said.
EBMUD's violations are part of $171,000 in administrative civil liability complaints assessed to eight water complexes in the Central Valley. Below is a list of other fines:
- Placer County Sewer Maintenance District No. 3 faces $45,000 in fines for violations in its surface water treatment plant that provides service to Granite Bay.
- Placer County Sewer Maintenance District No. 1 faces $15,000 in penalties for effluent limit violations at its wastewater treatment plant. The plant serves the unincorporated area of North Auburn.
- The city of Stockton faces $6,000 in penalties for violations at its wastewater treatment plant. Its treated municipal wastewater is discharged into the San Joaquin River.
Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at firstname.lastname@example.org.