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Input sought on water quality plan
Public DEQ meeting will be Thursday night
By ELON GLUCKLICH, Herald and News 5/12/10
State officials want to know what residents think about plans to boost water quality in the upper Klamath and Lost rivers sub-basins.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is hosting a mandated public input meeting from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the OIT College Union building, 3201 Campus Drive.
The most recent DEQ report on the Klamath and Lost rivers total maximum daily loads (TMDL) revealed sub-standard water quality. Under the federal Clean Water Act, the DEQ can compel water management bodies to improve conditions and fine those who fail to do so.
Klamath Falls ratepayers could be faced with an increase in rates to pay for an estimated $40 million upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. That plan is still in the negotiation phase.
TMDLs serve to identify and control pollution sources in the rivers.
The DEQ report indicated problems in the Klamath and Lost rivers include temperatures unsustainable for fish life, presence of nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as substandard biochemical oxygen demand rates, which can gauge the quality and effectiveness of wastewater treatment operations.
Local water officials say they are ready to listen to the public Thursday.
“These preliminary numbers have been out for a while,” said Robon Evans with the South Suburban Sanitary District.
The district holds permits for treated wastewater discharges, which the DEQ has identified as substandard.
DEQ officials called the meeting an opportunity for all residents to be apprised of the water situation, how it will affect their water rates and how they can contribute to the agency’s implementation process, said Senior Water Quality Analyst Steve Kirk.
“This provides a strategy for improving quality to meet water standards,” Kirk said. “We need to take these comments prior to finalizing the report.”
Page Updated: Thursday May 13, 2010 02:03 AM Pacific
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