Village News - Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

RMWD's secret sewage spill

 

Last updated 9/20/2007 at Noon



Since the Rainbow Municipal Water District (RMWD) special meeting on September 10, I have scanned the news for the sewage spill of September 5. As of September 14, nothing has appeared in the press.

“What sewage spill?” The blocked sewer line spilled 540,000 gallons of raw sewage into the wetlands east of the “bridge to nowhere” off I-15 in Fallbrook.

On September 10 District Engineer Brian Lee presented a description of the spill and a proposed plan for mitigation of the spill and of cutting a road to the site. He expressed a sense of urgency.

During an hour and a half of discussion, one director repeatedly argued with the term “hazardous waste,” saying that human waste had been used for centuries to fertilize crops. One said at least the information hadn’t gotten out.

There was talk of spending only $8,000 to $12,000 on a consultant. A director wanted to send as many men as possible with shovels to dig up all the manholes. I commented that the money for a consultant would be well spent to keep the situation from getting worse.

Another director didn’t want to rush into spending money for help with mitigation. He wanted to authorize a minimal amount, with the engineer coming back to the board for further authorization. (Why does RMWD hire professionals only to micromanage their every move?)

Why was the new Communications Committee not brought in right away to craft a press release? I agree that it is good for the public to hear about staff promotions and awards, but we also need to know there was a sewage spill of 540,000 gallons. We need to know that a proposal to do something about the neglected area was turned down by Rainbow’s board two years ago.

A number of directors used “transparency” and “public trust” in their campaigns but seem to have forgotten. Ratepayers have the right to know the state of our district, warts and all. This is the only way we can make informed decisions about critical issues facing the district…and us.

Helene Brazier

 

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