Supervisors will attend TMDL public hearing

May 23, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

The county Board of Supervisors was invited to attend a public workshop on the issue of total maximum daily load, or water quality standard, being imposed on local farmers.

The TMDL is part of the federal Clean Water Act. It is being implemented here through the State Water Resources Control Board's Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The public hearing is at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in the Plaza de la Cultura at the Imperial Valley Expo in Imperial.

Several regional board members are expected to attend.

The invitation was extended Tuesday by Lauren Grizzle, executive director of the Imperial County Farm Bureau and the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association.


Grizzle told the Board of Supervisors that TMDLs are being established throughout the state and elsewhere, but what makes them unique in the Imperial Valley is they are being imposed on artificial, manmade waterways.

She said the estimated cost of implementing the first TMDL, silt — with an mandated reduction from 400 milligrams per liter of farm runoff to 200 milligrams per liter — is from $5 to $50 per acre. Silt is the first of 14 TMDLs.

Grizzle told the Board of Supervisors that none of the suggestions made by a technical advisory committee of farmers who worked with regional board staff for 18 months were incorporated into the 300-page TMDL. Further, she said the science used by the regional board to develop the TMDL is 30 years old and comes out of a study conducted in Europe.

Grizzle said the TMDL requires the Imperial Irrigation District to notify the regional board of what crop will be grown on each local parcel of land six months before the crop is actually planted.

The Farm Bureau is seeking a delay of the TMDL's implementation until the environmental studies associated with the IID/San Diego County Water Authority transfer, among others, are completed, Grizzle said.

She said the farming community remains committed to moving forward on the water-quality program, though there might be legal implications in the imposition of the TMDL.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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