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A Peninsula water solution without desal?


For those of you who missed it, the Monterey County Weekly had an important piece this week raising the possibility that the Pure Water recycling project could be enlarged enough to eliminate the need for Cal Am’s tremendously expensive desalination plant. Here it is.

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  • Homerun August 20, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Maybe we should be harvesting LC&F for some of our water supply needs in dry periods?

  • john moore August 20, 2017, 4:38 pm

    Many of us have grave concerns about the recycle project. Its product currently passes the tests for recycled sewer water, but those test do not test for Perflourates and many other chemicals that statistically indicate that drinking water with such a residue, cause all sorts of disease, particularly in children,

    Until there are tests for the residue of chemicals from agriculture waste, the current recycle program should be abated. When asked, the Water Pollution District engineer admitted in writing that the current recycle project that attempts to recycle Ag waste to drinking water is a First. But they then rely completely on tests of the water that admittedly do not test for the materials that kill.

    If the recycled sewage and Ag waste was safe, there would be no reason to store it in the Seaside Aquifer. But by storing and mixing the water with clean water, when the ill effects occur, the Recycle people can pivot and cite the aquifer as the probable villain.

    The letter that I referenced was sent to WRAMP by the Pollution District Engineer.

  • Ron Weitzman August 20, 2017, 9:01 pm

    Cal Am’s desal project is not flawed because it is too large; it’s flawed because it is illegal: It would steal water from the Marina Coast Water District groundwater basin, which state law prohibits. Whether Pure Water Monterey could provide enough water to meet Monterey Peninsula needs without continued ravaging of the Carmel River depends not only on the project’s expandability but also on its very feasibility.

    Along with contaminants in sewer water, the source water for Pure Water Monterey contains dangerous amounts of chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and DDT, as well as other pesticides that are highly toxic to human beings.

    The Pure Water Monterey recycling process issues two streams of product water, one for Monterey Peninsula water customers and one for Salinas Valley growers. Only the first stream goes through advanced treatment including reverse osmosis. The second stream undergoes no recycling process beyond tertiary treatment, which works to produce irrigation water from source water (currently sewer water) that does NOT contain dangerous amounts of pesticides.

    California has standards and regimens to use in testing for pollutants that may remain in product water recycled from sewer water but not from source water also containing pesticides, as the source water for Pure Water Monterey uniquely does. The state must develop these tests and regimens and Pure Water Monterey must use them before we can even think of letting the project go into operation.

    Our current demand for water is low because our supply is limited and our unit cost of water is high—in fact, the highest in the nation. Pure Water Monterey or any other new water-supply project will only increase that cost substantially. Cal Am’s is not the only desal project being proposed. Others, which do not share Cal Am’s legal problems because they use open-ocean intake, are also out there. Whatever our new water supply might be, our water future will get ever more dismal every year unless our community takes the water-purveyance reins away from Cal Am. The sooner the better.

  • Ron Chesshire August 21, 2017, 7:30 pm

    Ron, then go before the MPWMD and tell them to do their job. Please read Chapter 2 – Legislative Findings, Section 118-2 Findings and Declarations, Sec. 2 paragraph 3. Link provided.


    You may notice the State Legislature found that a “privately owned water supplier” does not have the ability to do what is needed to provide and regulate necessary public works, etc.. Therefore, they created a “SPECIAL” District to do what they believed Cal Am could not do. Since the creation of the District, it has shunned its responsibility under the law. This in itself is not a crime but a travesty. Politics is alive and well when it comes to water within our area. It is not a question of taking the reins from Cal Am, it is a matter of the people of the District holding the District accountable. If we do and the District did its job, we wouldn’t need Cal Am or the PUC, which was given the reins back regarding water supply by the State Legislature contrary to their own damned findings. Politics, Politics, Politics??? And you continue to stir the pot whenever you can trying to scare people into building a project which will be totally inadequate for the future.

    It won’t much matter who builds a project. It is going to cost us more than we deserve thanks to all the political maneuvering over the decades. As to a purveyor? We will always pay a premium if we have a private entity as purveyor. After all, they are guaranteed to make a profit. What has cost us more than anything is not Cal Am but US. Our indecisive nature and unwillingness to hold the MPWMD accountable has already cost us more than that dismal future holds in store for us. I am not against buying the District but, it is a matter of governance and the MPWMD is not doing its job. Why hand them the reins??? Or, do you have a viable alternative??? Maybe another purveyor??? But, under whose control??? My grandfather (decades of service on an Electrification Board) always told me, “Son, it’s about control”.

    • Bill Hood August 22, 2017, 10:34 am

      Well stated, Ron. Many persons dislike and distrust the DIstrict, given its history. PWN is supporting it to be the agency that acquires Cal-AM. The positive is the CPUC process would be no more; the negative is that, although I have been told by people in the know that the Board and staff of the District actually are in favor of taking that role and responsibility (by that I mean the acquisition process which is complex in itself, and then, once successful, assuming the role of public water purveyor). If that is so, why hasn’t a member of the Board, or better yet, members, publicly announced that is where the District wants to go and will work to get there? As you cite, politics, poilitics, politics is an unsually non-trustworthy thing to hang you hat on — except for all other options (sounds a bit like Churchill – Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all others.