Your elected representative doesn’t hear if you don’t speak up. The truth about politics is that the people who are organized and make their voices heard are the ones that are able to make change happen. Up until now, the small group of concerned residents in Woodacre who want to build a sewer plant in the San Geronimo Valley have been very loud (especially for such a small group of people). It’s helped that the leader of the Woodacre group was former Supervisor Steve Kinsey’s assistant and she has been able to keep the wheels greased for a sewer plant. But let’s change all that! If you don’t want a sewer plant in the San Geronimo Valley you are urged to write a letter stating your position and mail that letter to Supervisor Dennis Rodoni. If a majority of residents in the Valley speak up and say NO! to a sewer plant, we’ve got a chance to stop this thing. You’ve got plenty of facts to support your letter right here st SGVSewerFacts.com. If you need a sample letter, please use the letter below. You can cut and paste it, use it as is or add something that speaks to your own position on the sewer plant. If you can only do one thing, then please write a letter, send an email or sign and mail one of the petitions that will be available throughout the Valley very soon.
Supervisor Dennis Rodoni
Marin County Board of Supervisors
3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329
San Rafael, CA 94903
Dear Supervisor Rodoni,
I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere opposition to a sewer plant in the San Geronimo Valley. As you know, a small group of concerned citizens known as the Woodacre & San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Group have been working for several years to find a solution to failing septic systems in Woodacre. With limited information about how many septic systems are actually failing and little information about the actual cost to fix those systems, this small group made a unilateral decision to advocate for a sewer plant located not in Woodacre, but in San Geronimo on the property of the San Geronimo Valley Golf Course. While I support finding a solution for residents in Woodacre who have failing systems and I support limiting the amount of pollution that migrates into our creeks, a sewer plant runs counter to the San Geronimo Valley Community Plan, is a risky and burdensome proposition and brings with it a host of other concerns and complications related to the health and welfare of all San Geronimo Valley residents.
Please allow me to share a few facts with you about the proposed sewer plant and reclaimed water system. The sewer plant will be located exactly 100 feet from the San Geronimo Creek. That’s the same creek that the Woodacre group says they want to protect. Any spill or mishap at the plant will have a huge and irreversible impact on the creek. Please read the Marin County Grand Jury’s 2014 report on local sewer systems and the high number of Category 1 spills in the county. The reclaimed water that will be used to irrigate the golf course contains up to 30mg of human waste per liter of effluent as well as human coliform bacteria and viruses. That means each month, during the summer, approximately 330 pounds of human waste will be sprayed on the course. The waste content is why the state does not allow reclaimed water like this to come into contact with drinking fountains, outdoor eating areas or outdoor food prep areas. It’s also why reclaimed water can’t be sprayed when wind speeds reach 30 mph. In the wet winter months when it can’t be sprayed on the golf course, the effluent and approximately 1500 pounds of human waste will be collected in two large storage ponds that will have 12-foot high and 10-foot wide berms, a visual blight for such a beautiful valley. California’s Title 22 is the state’s rules around the use of reclaimed water. It sets strict setbacks that determine where sewer plants, storage ponds and reclaimed watering systems can be placed in conjunction with existing ephemeral streams, flowing streams and fresh water ponds. Given all the water that bisects and crisscrosses the golf course, and given the requirement that existing fresh water ponds on the golf course remain unpolluted by reclaimed water, the sewer plant is a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. Also note that reclaimed water is scheduled to be sprayed in close proximity to our schools as well as a prized community garden that residents took much care and attention to build and maintain in order to harvest fresh vegetables. Questa Engineering’s draft report on the sewer plant includes a section on environmental impacts that includes both spills and odor. Odor causing elements like a raw sewage treatment tank that will be partially vented to the atmosphere and sludge (human waste) that will be dried, bagged and stored onsite are part of this risky plan. While the Woodacre group is quick to say that the sewer plant won’t smell, they actually have no idea if this is the case. If the system does smell, residents who live just a few hundred feet from the sewer plant could see a dangerous drop in their home values while all San Geronimo Valley residents can expect to see some drop in home values.
Finally, please allow me to note that the process that has lead to the county’s environmental impact report has been less than transparent or democratic. No vote or temperature reading has been taken across the Valley as to the merits of the sewer plant solution. Again, it’s important for me to express my sincere hope that we can find a solution for Woodacre residents with failing septic systems. Two good solutions have already been abandoned by the Woodacre group. One helps residents fix existing septic systems on site. The other is a community leach field located in Woodacre that’s modeled on the one installed in Marshall. This is a true Woodacre solution for a Woodacre problem. And while the Woodacre group often refers to the Marshall system as a model for what they want to do in our Valley, they are unwilling to actually consider it. For all of these reasons, I am opposed to a sewer plant in the San Geronimo Valley and ask that my opposition be noted in all discussions about this important issue.
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