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Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District's Request for Funds Denied by State Commission

SACRAMENTO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 01/24/14 -- A state commission today denied the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District's claim that the state-mandated chloride (salt) limit for recycled water discharged to the Santa Clara River is unfunded and reimbursable under the state constitution.

The Sanitation District filed the reimbursement claim with the Commission on State Mandates on March 31, 2011, to protect local homeowners and businesses from having to pay for state- mandated chloride removal facilities that will cost approximately $130 million.

Under the California Constitution, whenever the Legislature or any state agency mandates a new program or higher level of service on a local government, the state must reimburse the associated costs, with certain exceptions. The Commission, a quasi-judicial state body, is responsible for reviewing "test claims" to determine if the Legislature or a state agency has created a state mandate that requires reimbursement.

At today's hearing, the Commission denied the test claim, in part, because the Sanitation District has the means of procuring project funding on its own through rate increases.

"Despite this disappointing decision, we must still build advanced treatment facilities to comply with regulatory limits and to avoid significant fines," said Grace Robinson Chan, the Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Sanitation District. "However, as directed by our Board, we will continue to actively seek ways to reduce costs and minimize impacts to our ratepayers," she added.

The Sanitation District serves the wastewater management needs of the Santa Clarita Valley. The agency protects public health and the environment by constructing, operating, and maintaining a regional system that collects, treats, recycles, and disposes sewage from homes and businesses in the community.

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