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Water Collection Alternatives in Santa Rosa

While the City of Santa Rosa has significant problems to contend with in dealing with their own Treated Wastewater NPDES permit, impaired conditions on Santa Rosa Creek and the Laguna de Santa Rosa, and management of their current Stormwater Plan; the City is busy stepping on its own tail by refusing to deal with (by having a reasonable plan) rain water collection systems.

Rain water collection systems can go a long way in solving many problems – appurtenant to issues listed above. Rain water collection systems that collect and retain water during peak hydrologic events can effect changes to the hydrograph and thus eliminate flooding during peak flow events. This would also help with the control of pollutants introduced to surface water during such events. Collection of rain water can also help lower water demand ( another the City is facing).

So what is the City of Santa Rosa doing? The City has policy in place that forces issuance of permit for such collection systems. Not only is a permit need, a fee for the permit is assessed. How is this permitting and fee system going to encourage change towards development of collection systems.

Is this fee and permit system fair? The rational behind the permit and fee system is maintain and protect public health by assuring that such collection systems are not connected to potable water systems. That sounds reasonable. But! When you want to implement your newly proposed system for use of recycled waste water are you going to implement the same standards – permits, fees, backflow devices, and yearly inspections. If you do, you can forget about use of recycled water for landscape irrigation. It is infinitely more likely that recyled water, in pipes (rather than rain water collected in tanks), could be connected to potable water systems (by accident or design).

What about pools? Why do pool owners not need backflow devices and inspections. The system seem a little out of wack.

What I am suggesting is more though. I (we) are looking for you to devise some reasonable solution. Alternatives should be looked at and adjustments in policly should be made.

Alan Levine