Russian River cleanup plan to seek fixes for failing septic systems – Press Democrat

The proposed action plan aims to keep human and animal fecal waste out of the watershed and prevent waterborne disease. It touches on sources ranging from pet waste to dirty diapers, dairy ponds to homeless encampments, municipal waste treatment systems to recycled effluent used in irrigation.

But requirements for repair or replacement of faulty and substandard individual wastewater disposal systems are likely to prove hot topics, if history is any indication.

Regular inspections for septic systems within 600 feet of the Russian River or tributary watersheds may prove controversial, as well.

Public displeasure over a “heavy-handed” approach to regulation of individual septic systems and other onsite wastewater treatment systems derailed the last attempt to define how the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control District would go about improving the river’s water quality.

The district board encountered so much dissatisfaction two years ago that it suspended consideration of draft regulations and decided to start over.

“We realized we needed to go back and rethink our approach,” senior environmental scientist Alydda Manglesdorf said.

But under the federal Clean Water Act, the state and the regional boards are required to address evidence of seasonal and episodic fecal waste pollution in a river widely used for recreation and thus posing a risk to human health, officials said……..


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