Clean water plans | March 21, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Perspective - March 21, 2008

Clean water plans

Danville sent its heavyweights to a hearing last week held by the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board in Oakland. On the table was a discussion about new rules being mandated by the federal government with its new Municipal Regional Permit, to improve the quality of water that flows from local communities into the Bay and prevent pollution from storm water runoff.

Town Manager Joe Calabrigo stresses that he doesn't think stricter regulations are necessarily a bad thing. He is primarily concerned about how Danville will pay for them. Currently, Danville resident fees contribute $470,000 a year that goes toward clean water: creek cleanup, street sweeping, trash removal and the county's clean water program. Since no funding has been passed down along with this new mandate, it is especially important to be efficient in moving toward its goals.

Calabrigo, Mayor Candace Andersen and Councilman Newell Arnerich from Danville testified at the hearing, as did representatives from other cities throughout the Bay Area. Calabrigo took the lead for Contra Costa County, consolidating the long, complicated document into a three-page summary, plus distributing background information. He noted the importance of the water board understanding the costs to implement the new Municipal Regional Permit - $175 million-$200 million countywide over five years. He pointed out that existing stormwater fee revenues have been exhausted and fees cannot be increased without voter approval. Another priority for the hearings was to discuss phasing in the new policies and, possibly, how to tie requirements to obtaining funds.

The board is expected to reconvene this summer with a decision. Hopefully, its members will have listened to the Danville contingent, looked at its good record, and will let it come up with its own more cost-effective plan. Rather than impose a blanket plan on all the communities, we would hope the board works with Danville, and each town, on how best to make sure the water that enters the Bay from its location is clean.


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