The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board has slapped a fine of more than $1 million on Malaga County Water District for failing to fully implement a federally mandated wastewater pretreatment program and submit reports on wastewater treatment capacity.
The time frame for the violations and fine was 2008 to 2014.
“It has put the public and workers at risk and undermined the Central Valley Water Board’s oversight role to protect water quality,” said Clay Rodgers, the board’s assistant executive officer.
A cease-and-desist order cited by the board was based on Malaga’s failure to submit an adequate and complete study of the wastewater facility’s treatment and disposal capacity from June 2008 through December 2014.
But district officials say they have corrected all operational deficiencies connected with regulating water discharged from industrial facilities en route to the sewage treatment plant.
It has put the public and workers at risk and undermined the Central Valley Water Board’s oversight role to protect water quality.
Clay Rodgers, assistant executive officer for Central Valley Water Board
They say the district has not discharged polluted water into streams and that the water board’s problems were administrative and paperwork related.
The district has two lawsuits pending against the water board. One is for a $72,000 fine dating back three years when the water board found permit violations going back nearly a decade, and a second suit is for a permit that restricted the amount of water the district can discharge into its wastewater ponds.
The district intends to appeal the latest fine to the state water board.
James Anderson, who started working as Malaga’s general manager in 2014, said he immediately moved to correct the district’s pretreatment and pond capacity issues.
The district has offered training to employees to correct the problems and, Anderson said, violations cited by the water board have been corrected.
The district’s annual budget is $2.2 million for water and sewer services, including about $1.2 million for sewer services. Malaga Community Services District has about 430 customers, including about 200 commercial and industrial.