The Salts Work Plan
The most pervasive constituents of concern on the Watershed are salts. High salt concentrations are common in arid areas with extensive irrigation and heavy reliance on imported water sources. The problems stemming from high salt concentrations severely tax the local water resources of the Watershed. High salt concentrations also threaten to further strain the already fragile water resources of California by increasing the area's demand for imported water and potentially degrading a regional groundwater storage site for surplus imported water, the Las Posas Basin. It is this salts problem that will be addressed first and the problem which the stakeholders on the watershed have already taken significant steps to resolve.
The work plan strategy for addressing salts is three-fold. First priority is given to removal of the water quality impairment both to restore beneficial uses of surface water and to reclaim valued groundwater resources throughout the watershed. Second, the strategy will address a review of existing beneficial uses and water quality objectives (WQO) currently assigned to the Calleguas Creek stream system in the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan. Recommendations for Basin Plan amendments will be developed where appropriate. Finally, where impairments may not be removed TMDLs will be developed to address those remaining impairments. These three elements of the strategy will be pursued in parallel in order to accelerate the process and satisfy the time constraints of the Consent Decree.Responsible Agencies
The responsible agencies in the Watershed committed to completing the Salts Work Plan are: Calleguas Municipal Water District, Camrosa Water District, Camarillo Sanitary District, Pleasant Valley County Water District, City of Simi Valley, City of Thousand Oaks and Ventura County Waterworks District No. 9. These agencies are parties to the Salt Plan Memorandum of Understanding. Although these parties are working in cooperation and in some cases in partnership to address the salts issues they are independent entities each with limited scope of authority. They are, however, very effectively moving forward with a complex strategy to address water quality issues.Proposed Projects to Address Salt Related WQ impairments
Agencies and groups of agencies are pursing various elements of the plan to address salts on the watershed. Those plans range from efforts to reduce the use of regenerative water softeners on the watershed to large-scale de-salting and disposal projects. The Calleguas Municipal Water District (CMWD) is currently constructing a pipeline to transport salts from the watershed to the ocean. The CMWD is preparing an application to discharge through an existing ocean discharge point at the Reliant Energy Plant at Ormond Beach. To address the southern reaches of the Watershed (Conejo Creek and the lower Calleguas Creek) the Camrosa Water District, Camarillo Sanitary District and City of Thousand Oaks are pursing a proposed project to utilize the CMWD salts disposal system, or as an alternative discharge point, the lower reach of the Calleguas Creek which has no salt WQO. Simi Valley, Ventura County Waterworks, and CMWD are evaluating alternatives for using the salts disposal system to address salts in the northern reaches.
All of these plans will take time to implement and will require further study and review. However, the available alternatives are limited. Unlike other constituents, salts on the Watershed cannot be remedied through source control, local treatment, or hopes of advanced technology. The only solution is through the joint use of the existing ocean discharge at Reliant Energy Plant, or in the final reach of the Calleguas Creek near the ocean.
The timely initiation of the plans to address salts in the watershed is necessary for the development of all TMDLs. Significant alterations to the sources of water and flow regime of the watershed are being considered. If these changes are not taken into account when addressing all of the water quality impairments in the watershed, it is possible that developed TMDLs will not effectively address the water quality impairments.Review of Basin Plan WQO and Designated Beneficial Uses
At the same time the responsible agencies are developing and implementing plans to address salt impairments, the Salts Work Plan will address the current Basin Plan as it relates to salts on a reach by reach basis. Because salts are extremely costly to manage it is imperative that investments are made in the reaches where impairments truly exist. Although the Basin Plan currently treats the Calleguas Creek stream system as a single unit, the Salts Work Plan will expand on the work already done by LARWQCB staff in an earlier draft Calleguas Creek Basin Plan Amendment to determine on a reach-by-reach basis the most appropriate WQO. Protection of groundwater is a high priority to the local stakeholders and therefore reaches of the stream system which impact groundwater and the degree to which they impact groundwater will be evaluated. Instantaneous WQOs do not impact groundwater recharge as much as the average water quality received by the groundwater basin. Therefore, efforts will be made to identify the average loading of salts to the impacted basins.