Water Quality and Our Watershed

An Ojai Valley-wide meeting about new water quality standards and local options to protect water quality will be hosted by the Coalition on December 13, 2011. Presenting will be the Regional Water Quality Control Board, with local input from the Resource Conservation District and the Waste to Energy bio-digester project.

The new standards are being developed because of increased levels of plant nutrients (mainly nitrates) in the groundwater and in the creeks of the Ventura River watershed. High concentrations of nitrates cause more frequent algae blooms in some reaches of the Ventura River, which diminish aquatic life and recreational aesthetics of the river. High nitrate concentrations have been found in surface flows of San Antonio Creek and in some wells, which requires treatment or blending to meet drinking water standards.

All are invited to attend this free meeting on Tuesday, December 13 at the Chaparral Auditorium, 414 E. Ojai Ave. from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more information about the meeting, please contact our Watershed council chair Bill O’Brien at 805-658-6611.

For a flyer click here. Thanks to the Ojai Unified School District and our volunteers who are providing the meeting arrangements.

The Regional Water Quality Control Board is developing a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) program to limit the load (quantities) of each nutrient source that can be identified in the watershed. The TMDL may require new actions to protect water quality that can include changes in the uses of fertilizers, management of horse and animal wastes, treating runoff from city streets and reducing the effects of septic tank effluent. The Regional Board staff is currently determining what targets and allocations for nutrients are appropriate and plan to have a CEQA scoping meeting by February 2012.

This valley-wide meeting to inform the public will feature Jenny Newman of the Regional Board making the main presentation about why nutrients are a concern and the TMDL process. The local Waste to Energy (W2E) committee will give an update about a recently funded feasibility study for a bio-digester project that can take organic nutrient wastes and convert them to energy, and the Resource Conservation District (RCD) will discuss their upcoming workshops about low-cost and effective practices to protect water quality at ranches and farms.

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Ojai Valley Green Coalition
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© Rich Reid,Oak View CA