Letters to the Editor

Viewpoint: New water quality rules unnecessary in Atascadero

The Atascadero City Council is very concerned about actions being considered by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board at its meeting of May 5. Namely, the board is seeking to implement stringent regulations that will impact all properties in the city using septic tanks.

The initiatives being considered are not based on science or need; they will simply place an undue burden on property owners and create a huge unfunded mandate for the city. We are asking you to join us in opposition to the actions being considered. Specifically, the water board will be considering measures that will:

Force the city to identify and address areas of potential groundwater that may be degraded by septic systems.

Verify that existing and proposed systems are constructed and maintained in accordance with strict standards, which could include inspections.

Record notices of septic system-related enforcement actions against properties, which could impact property transactions.

Prohibit secondary residences on parcels less than 2 acres.

Require setting aside more property for septic expansion areas and call for possibly more extensive and expensive septic systems.

Prohibit self-regenerating water softeners.

We have steadfastly opposed the regulations; and, in addition, the Atascadero Mutual Water Company has tested groundwater near all wells and found no issue with Atascadero’s water quality. The City Council believes strongly that the proposals are not warranted.

For the past 28 years, Atascadero has been effectively managing the design and construction of septic systems within the city. There have been an insignificant number of failures of septic systems, and this magnitude of increased regulatory oversight is unnecessary. We urge you to go to www.atascadero.org to get informed about this issue and join us at the hearing Thursday, May 5, in San Luis Obispo to voice your concerns.

Tom O’Malley is mayor; Bob Kelley is mayor pro tem; and Jerry Clay, Roberta Fonzi, Brian Sturtevant are City Council members for the city of Atascadero.