GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

A stroll in Pacific Beach down Garnet Ave from Ingraham St to Crystal Pier and back again

Posted by George J Janczyn on December 31, 2017

A slideshow of photos taken on December 22, 2017.

Posted in Water | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

San Diego water conservation campaign wins international award

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 21, 2010

[San Diego Public Utilities Department News Release]

SAN DIEGO – The American Water Works Association (AWWA) today has named the City of San Diego’s “No Time to Waste, No Water to Waste” water conservation public outreach campaign winner of the 2009 Public Communications Achievement Award at its 2010 annual conference in Chicago.

The campaign was created by a team consisting of Mayor Jerry Sanders’ Office, the City’s Public Utilities Department and a consultant, Collaborative Services, to address San Diego’s ongoing Level 2 drought alert, which requires mandatory water-use restrictions. The campaign is featured extensively on bus and trolley wraps, billboards, banners, signage, the City’s website and television and radio public service announcements featuring the Mayor’s call to action for residents to conserve water.

“The ‘No Time to Waste, No Water to Waste’ message has become an important part of achieving our water conservation goal and we‘re very pleased that this international association believes our campaign is as successful as we do,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders. “San Diegans are continuing to do their part by conserving water and we’re continuing the campaign to keep the momentum strong.”

The Public Communication Achievement Award is presented to organizations or individuals who foster and support the development of public outreach programs and integrate public affairs as a core element of utility planning and management. San Diego and Metro Vancouver, British Columbia were both chosen for this award.

Founded in 1881, the American Water Works Association is an international nonprofit scientific and educational society dedicated to the improvement of drinking water quality and supply. The AWWA is the authoritative resource on safe drinking water and currently boasts more than 60,000 members worldwide. The purpose of the organization is to facilitate the exchange of information pertaining to water resource development, water and wastewater treatment technology, water storage and distribution, and utility management and operations. The AWWA provides knowledge, information and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond and advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the water community.

Posted in Water, Water conservation | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

SDSU’s expansion project in Del Cerro’s Adobe Falls a step closer to reality

Posted by George J Janczyn on February 4, 2010

Judge issues ruling on case challenging SDSU’s Master Plan EIR

Last July I wrote an article in which I explored Alvarado Creek and its path from La Mesa to Adobe Falls in Del Cerro and on to the San Diego River. Adobe Falls was ultimately to become its own story, though, as I learned more about SDSU’s Master Plan project to build residential housing for faculty and staff in the Adobe Falls area and the ongoing legal challenges that ensued. The story was entitled Alvarado Creek and the future of Adobe Falls.

When I wrote that story there were still unresolved legal challenges to SDSU’s project, specifically the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), and I encountered ongoing obstacles in following the legal developments. Indeed, after writing the story, I wasn’t able to access the casefile any more. That process is documented in my Adobe Falls updates post.

Both of those posts contain detailed background information including links for the EIR, the Master Plan, and more.

Today, I finally made some progress. Although the clerk in the public records office again informed me that the casefile was not available, after I pleaded how long I’ve been trying to get my hands on it she contacted the department and they (reluctantly) agreed to allow me limited access to it, but only in the clerk’s presence.

I had already seen the older casefile documents, but regarding new developments, I was only allowed to see one item — a Proposed Statement of Decision that Judge Thomas P. Nugent issued. I could choose to have the clerk stand over me while I read it or she could make a copy for me. I took the copy!

My informal reading of the major challenges is: 1) the EIR fails to identify, mitigate, and consider alternatives to local & regional traffic impacts; 2) the EIR fails to provide correct or adequate fair share calculations; 3) the EIR fails to adequately identify impacts to or mitigation measures to reduce impacts to area population and housing stock; 4) the EIR fails to provide analysis or description of proposed open space and/or recreational facilities; 5) the EIR fails to adequately identify or mitigate for impacts to Adobe Falls Creek and surrounding riparian wetlands, or to native plant habitat, open space, or visual character.

The judge’s Proposed Statement of Decision was filed on Jan 13, 2010 and essentially dismisses all challenges to SDSU’s 2007 EIR.

One issue that particularly interested me was water (!). The Petitioners argued that SDSU’s EIR did not adequately examine the development’s impacts on the city’s (limited) water supply. The judge ruled, however, that the EIR had specifically addressed both water supply impacts and water delivery infrastructure impacts and that they were adequately addressed and supported by substantial evidence.

In his Conclusion, the judge says “This Proposed Statement of Decision shall become final within fifteen days unless either party files objections thereto pursuant to California Rules of Court, §3.1590(f). Any objections shall be limited to alleged errors of fact or law. Attempts to reargue the case will not be considered.”

I was not permitted to see additional new documents that apparently represent objections to the decision statement. I was told the department is probably going to put together a new volume for the case (it already has 6 volumes); that probably means more paperwork is expected while the new objections are heard. Since the objections can only pertain to errors of fact or law in the decision, though, it seems pretty clear to me that at this point, there’s not much more standing in the way of the project, other than SDSU and CSU finding money to pay for it.

For the long term, I intend to continue following the project after the legal issues are resolved. I’ll keep all further updates in the Ongoing Topics page on the menu bar at the top of this blog.

Added Feb 5: PDF copy of the Proposed Statement of Decision (will open in new tab)

[updated Feb 5 to emphasize the likelihood that there are objections or challenges to the decision]

[Feb 8 – It’s curious that the local mainstream news media hasn’t written a word about the judge’s ruling. I wouldn’t think it’s because it is a proposed statement of decision, because the media had plenty to say when a proposed decision was announced regarding the QSA water transfer business! I don’t care if they mention my blog post or not, but isn’t this a topic of broad importance?]

Revised SDSU Master Plan

Posted in Adobe Falls, Environment, Land use, Water | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Good morning in San Diego…

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 2, 2009

Downtown2 Downtown


The large building complex is SDSU (click photos above to enlarge)

…and a nice evening too


Posted in Miscellaneous | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Wastewater treatment in San Diego

Posted by George J Janczyn on October 15, 2009

I’ve been thinking about the waiver given to San Diego on Oct. 7 by the California Coastal Commission allowing the city to defer secondary treatment at its Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.

One thing that puzzled me was Spouting Off Blog’s report that the Surfrider Foundation, Coastkeeper, and Sierra Club were all in support of the waiver because of an agreement for San Diego “to complete a comprehensive water recycling study with recommendations to be completed in the next two years.” I also thought about the blog’s assertion that San Diego “refuses to embrace water recycling as an integral solution to our growing water crisis.”

I couldn’t find language requiring that study in the commission’s report. I’m not saying the groups don’t have some side agreement, perhaps not involving the Coastal Commission, but I’d like to see some documentation. In any case the city’s 2005 Recycled Water Master Plan Update was probably headed for another update soon anyway.

In 2002 San Diego’s Long-Range Water Resources Plan called for development and use of recycled water to the tune of 15,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) by 2010 and 33,000 AFY by 2030, according to the 2005 Master Plan Update.

San Diego now has two large-scale water recycling facilities online, the North County Water Reclamation Plant (NCWRP) and the South Bay Water Reclamation Plant (SBWRP), with capacities of 30,000 AFY and 15,000 AFY, respectively, a total of 45,000 AFY. So far there is lots more capacity than they can find users for.

The Coastal Commission report states that the city

has implemented a water reclamation program that will result in a reduction in the quantity of suspended solids discharged into the marine environment during the period of the 301(h) modification. To ensure compliance with this requirement, EPA Region 9 is imposing permit conditions slightly different than those proposed by the applicant. In addition, the applicant has constructed a system capacity of 45 mgd of reclaimed water, thereby meeting this January 1, 2010 requirement.

and that

EPA Region 9 concludes that the applicant’s proposed discharge will satisfy CWA sections 301(h) and (j)(5) and 40 CFR 125, Subpart G.

So, even though Point Loma isn’t doing secondary treatment, the actual discharge is meeting the requirements for the waiver.

Now, consider that the North City Water Reclamation Plant (NCWRP) provides secondary treatment for a large amount of wastewater that is then discharged via the Point Loma outfall. As of 2005, NCWRP treated 75% of its capacity this way, according to the Master Plan Update. In other words, a significant portion of wastewater coming out of Point Loma received secondary treatment.

A smaller amount of NCWRP wastewater is given tertiary treatment which then goes towards beneficial reuse by a number of customers.

Perhaps the question should be why NCWRP isn’t doing more tertiary treatment so that more water can be beneficially reused. The 2005 Master Plan said that tertiary water amounted to 6 million gallons per day (MGD) and that the goal was to reach 12 MGD by the end of 2010. So there’s lots of unused capacity there.

Part of the problem is finding new large users (and you need large users because it’s much more expensive to deliver to many small users). Another problem is that some known large users are not near existing distribution pipelines. Not connected to the distribution system for recycled water is the central San Diego area, including Mission Bay Park, Balboa Park, Mission Valley (including the Riverwalk Golf Course) and east to La Mesa, downtown and south to National City. Inexplicably, though, the master plan says “MWWD does not project a need for a wastewater treatment facility in the Mission Valley area until 2030.”

If there is another study or plan update, I think that issue should be revisited. What if the 18-acre parcel of land near Qualcomm Stadium the plan contemplated for a plant is not available in 2030? There might be a new larger stadium, or other development. Recently we read of SDSU’s desire to build facilities somewhere in that area. Even though the city owns that parcel, future development in the area could pose problems.

As it stands, the master plan talks about expanding the distribution system from NCWRP or SBWRP to provide service to the central area. If we’re looking at the long term, though, those facilities will eventually find enough users in their own areas. I think it would make more sense to build a third recycling facility in Mission Valley. Especially since Balboa Park and Mission Bay Park are such huge water users (1240 AFY and 860 AFY). Also with a treatment facility in Mission Valley, some water could be discharged into the adjacent San Diego River as part of a live stream discharge/wetlands creation project. Last, we should revisit the proposal to pipe highly treated water to San Vicente reservoir and either place it in the reservoir or percolate it to recharge groundwater aquifers. While I disagree with Spouting Off that San Diego refuses to embrace recycling, it’s true there has been a lot of unsavory and uninformed reaction by certain people to recycling. But I think we’re approaching the stage where those people will realize it’s time to grow up.

Posted in Environment, Land use, Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, Politics, Water | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »