The South Suburban Sanitary District would like to take this opportunity to separate fact from fiction to address a recent series of generalized and fictitious statements regarding the District’s recycled water project. Keep in mind that the District is limited to moving forward with alternatives that are reality based and financially prudent. The District desires to minimize potential impacts to the community while benefiting the community.
Fiction: “South Suburban Sanitation District has chosen 2 areas of prime farm ground to dump sewage water only cleaned to Class C or B”
Fact: The District is evaluating 2 sites but will ultimately select one for development. Class C recycled water is recognized as no longer being sewage and can be used to grow organic alfalfa and processed potatoes.
Fiction: “The buildup of these elements (arsenic, lead, mercury, salt and other heavy elements) from the huge ponds will eventually ruin the prime ground.”
Fact: The proposed District recycled water does not have any more significant levels of heavy metals than that of agricultural runoff, and unlike the use of fertilizers and pesticides regularly applied to other farmland, the planned storage reservoir will be HDPE lined which will minimize impacts to the soil.
Fiction: It was claimed that the project would “take hundreds of acres of farm ground out of production” and that “Within a few short years the vegetation will die off and yield a dust bowl”
Fact: The District project will never run short of irrigation water, keeping the land highly productive even in times of drought, thereby retaining the soil and maintaining vegetation.
Fiction: “These proposed ponds that have a lifetime of about 20 years”
Fact: The site Reservoir will be constructed to last well over 50 years. As an example, the existing treatment lagoons off Maywood Drive have been in service and still perform well since they were constructed in the early 1960’s.
Fiction: “If our county had a state-of-the-art treatment plant (like other counties) then upgrading it periodically would be economical and something our county could be proud of.”
Fact: A “state of the art” treatment facility would not make the water any more useable than the current facility for the District’s intended agricultural use which will likely be alfalfa, organic alfalfa, processed potatoes, and grazing. The District could build a “state-of-the-art” treatment facility for an additional $60 million (at least $110 million in total) that would include facilities to cool the water and then send it down the Klamath River. Some would consider that to be a waste of money and a valuable agricultural commodity. Maintaining a “state-of-the-art” facility is analogous to owning and maintaining a luxury car; like maintaining a luxury car, upgrading and maintaining a “state-of-the-art” facility can be very expensive.
The District looks forward to providing our ratepayers with an affordable and reliable solution while keeping farm ground productive every single year for years to come.