Rate Structures, Backup Tank, Chlorine Contact Chamber and More Discussed at Garberville Sanitary Board Meeting

Press release from the Garberville Sanitary District:
Garberville Sanitary District

The Garberville Sanitary Board of Directors held their regular monthly meeting on

August 28, 2018 and I have included a summary of that meeting.

1. The meeting opened and then proceeded to the water treatment plant site which is where the new chlorine contact chamber has been placed and being prepared to be part of the water disinfection process. The chlorine contact chamber is 36’ long by 10’ diameter and holds 20,000 gallons of water. The process allows the disinfected water to enter the tank through a perforated wall and then over and under a series of baffles while exiting the tank through another perforated wall to be used safely for human consumption. We are looking forward to having this process completed after the failure of the previous underground chlorine contact chamber from last November.

2. There was a report of the GSD projects and private projects underway with status of those projects. There are a couple new developments in the planning stages with others waiting for regulatory agency approval. GSD has completed a sewer line replacement and added a backup 10,000 gallon tank for additional storage.

3. The District is working to provide an easier yet consistent rate structure for the customers and discussing a senior/low income service charge credit which will add some relief to those fixed income customers.

4. The Board discussed adding a new water meter tampering ordinance to address those who turn their water on after they have been turned off for non-payment. Discussion will continue on what to do about those who tamper with GSD water and equipment.

5. The Board wants staff to develop a water balance and South Fork Eel River comparison graph to show river characteristics and customer water use demands. This process is ongoing but should be completed by end of 2018.

6. There were enough candidates to fill the open Board positions and those Board members will be sworn into office in December of this year.

For questions about GSD Board meetings please contact our office at 923-9566 

Ralph Emerson

General Manager
Garberville Sanitary District



  • unbridled philistine

    I do not want to consume anything that comes out of their contact basin! I do not care if it is safe for human consumption! Drink up Garberville . Yummy….

  • I guess, if you believe the fox guarding the hen house, you can also believe this account of this meeting by Emerson.

    What Emerson neglected to mention, what was asked by a member of the public, during public comment at the meeting, as to “There are a couple new developments in the planning stages with others waiting for regulatory agency approval”.

    So lets talk about that aspect of the meeting.

    Back on Aug 20, 2018, I sent an email to GSD, asking that my concern be put on the Aug 28, 2018 GSD Board Meeting agenda, so my concerns could be addressed by the Board and I could address my concerns in person. I never received a reply, nor was it placed on the Aug 28, 2018 GSD Board Meeting agenda.

    As you know, the Garberville Sanitary District (GSD) provides water and sewer services to Garberville. It diverts water from the South Fork Eel River and sells to their customers/ratepayers.

    Back in 2014, GSD was approved and allowed to expand its jurisdictional boundary by 60% and water rights place of use by 40% to provide more water and sewer service connections. This process is called annexation. In this annexation process, GSD included parcels into this process as “Undevelopable” with No Impact to the environment. Its one of these parcels I want to talk about.

    APN 032-141-010 was deemed “Undevelopable” in the adopted GSD Annexation and approved by Humboldt LAFCo; this APN is noted on Figure 6a and Attachment 2, page 2-1, in the link below:


    Now with that being said; how did APN 032-141-010 go from being “Undevelopable” with No Impact to this:

    11,096 square foot 15 unit Lifestyle (SoHum Inn) Hotel; that includes an 1,132 square foot live-in caretakers unit, outdoor pool, spa, sauna, outdoor showers, 852 square medical cannabis dispensary, 27 parking spaces, new 8″ waterline, new 6″ sewer/wastewater line and on-site fire hydrant.

    APN 032-141-010 was never included in the GSD Annexation for water consumption, or included in the CEQA initial study review process, either by GSD or Humboldt County, i.e. it was deemed “Undevelopable” with No Impact and exempt from CEQA.

    I for one would like to know how much this new Hotel and cannabis dispensary will take away from wildlife species in the South Fork Eel River, during the rivers lowest flows and GSD highest (no pun) demand. And how did this property go from “Undevelopable” during a public process and then, in private, become developed into a major development project?

    The question raised during this meeting, was the fact this required mitigation measure included in the GSD Annexation CEQA process, was not adopted or used to evaluate this development:

    “Mitigation Measure No. 1. The GSD Board of Directors shall adopt an ordinance that, at a minimum, states that any future development or intensification of use within the GSD boundary or future annexations or outside agency boundary service that relies on connection to the GSD water or sewer services for implementation will be reviewed by the GSD prior to approval by the County. A “will serve” letter will be provided by GSD to Humboldt County and the project applicant, indicating the ability of the GSD to provide a service connection based upon the current water and/or wastewater system capacity to provide that service. If sufficient water or wastewater service is not available, the applicant will be denied service until such time that the service is available. This ordinance will also identify the location of the water and sewer service area and only water service area overlay. These areas are shown on Figure 16. GSD shall notify Humboldt County of the new ordinance so that it will be included in current planning activities.”

    I wanted an opportunity to ask my questions, in public and on the record with the GSD Board. And even when someone asked Emerson some of the same questions I was asking, he evaded the questions and admitted the above Mitigation Measure No. 1 was never adopted by the GSD Board.

    So again, how did this “Undevelopable” property get approved and why didn’t the GSD Board adopt the required “Mitigation Measure No. 1”?

    And what are these “new developments in the planning stages with others waiting for regulatory agency approval.”? Are they “Undevelopable” too?

    Trent Sanders~ https://drive.google.com/open?id=13pb9ZyFVabkJx3r_tOo89UaoSLJ0iEfu

    Trent Sanders~ https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Lo8JycUVD4CSAcvoV7JBXGh7mZLxDTNR

    Tristin Oates~ https://drive.google.com/open?id=1ugev3WH8J42r3xfaouJc4DtvwBJU7YMD

    Tristin Oates~ https://drive.google.com/open?id=1x6Dq8GShmqis4m7ItLCGbNHXDfGGoT4f

    Bottom line; GSD does not have an unlimited amount of water or the right to use it for private development, that degrades and adversely affects the beneficial use of the South Fork Eel River, threatened and endangered species and its wildlife habitat!

    • Your concern is that a new hotel in garberville will be the tipping point that has a catastrophic effect on the eel river? What earth shattering abomination will they build next, a Taco Bell?

      • BTW, its the South Fork Eel River, which is currently, today, at 28.3 cfs. When does it start raining? November?

        • What if they build a car wash?! Or a water fountain, you know I saw someone at the gas station washing the concrete of with a hose! And the hose had water coming out of it! You should write Moonbeam and you guys could make a law that would save California, you can only water plants with Gatorade.

          • If you saw “someone at the gas station washing the concrete of with a hose! And the hose had water coming out of it! “, you should notify the owner, because that water is not allowed to go into the storm water drains, that end up in the river. So I guess its on you for not speaking up, If you see something say something. “Fueling areas should never be washed down unless the wash water is collected and disposed of properly.” this has been a thing since 1997…

            • I apologize next time I will call 911, I’m sure they will get right on it. I also saw someone watering their lawn, when I call 911 should I tell them it was a fascist?

    • Glad Ed does what he does…

      Thanks, Ed, for yet another interesting nugget of corruption at the GSD.

      Sadly, just a microcosm of the macro.

      Carry on SoHum;)

    • Its funny Dave, you old name caller you, “You don’t live here”, no shit Dave. And all of GSD’s water rights license/permit, operators license, wastewater permit, drinking water certification and oversight are from state agencies, none of them live or work in Humboldt County either. It doesn’t matter if I live there or not. The GSD Board is accountable to state and federal laws, rules and regulation over and beyond Humboldt County. What you call “meddling” is what everyone else calls citizen monitoring. Is there a problem officer?

      Let me ask you Dave, when you were on the Planning Commission and you approved a project that circumvented required CEQA mitigation measures and failed to implement those requirements as condition of approval you approved, would you want to know or not?

  • Concerned Business Owner and Resident

    Always Corrupt GSD.

    Who did they hand pick for the board this time???

    In my estimation, Ed is one of the few people who can really take GSD to task over their policies and procedures, including issues concerning water shortage, unapproved developments, environment, spending and sanitation.

    Ralph Emerson and the board like to make their own rules with OUR water and impose ridiculous rates on the residents while giving themselves pay raises. THEY HAVE NO OVERSIGHT. THE SITUATION IS CONCERNING TO SAY THE LEAST.

    Garberville is lucky to have Ed looking at GSD – Someone has to!!

    • “Who did they hand pick for the board this time???”

      Her name is Julie Lyons

    • Sorry, I misspelled her name, here’s when it came up and I don’t think she has attend a GSD meeting since:

      “Julie Lyon of the Summer Games and the Southern Humboldt Unified School District attended the meeting. Lyon is expressing an interest in joining the GSD Board, but no public discussion occurred during this meeting. Lyon said, in a conversation after the meeting, she has served on the SHUSD Board and has time in her life to serve the GSD District.”


      I hope she can make a difference at GSD, bring public accountability back into this public agency, stop back room deals with private developers, use the water in a beneficial way from the South Fork Eel and comply to their place of use requirements. Emerson is only running roughshod over GSD because the currant Board is allowing it…

  • It’s sad for our river and for us too that well-heeled local developers and the board and manager of GSD are bypassing GSD’s own environmental agreements in order to permit construction of a new hotel in Garberville. Five years ago, the Garberville Sanitary District directors signed a promise to provide a water capacity analysis if any new development is proposed to them which could possibly use large amounts of water that might exceed the District’s capacity. We do need answers to questions like, what is the District’s current capacity?, how much water will this hotel demand?, will it jeopardize current customers needs? or the town’s needs in a fire emergency? The primary responsibility of a water district is to make sure new development does not compromise service to its present customers, fire safety needs, or the health of threatened and endangered salmon species in our river. The County Conditional Use Permit shows nothing on expected water use by the new hotel. GSD shows nothing either. GSD has the responsibility to do the water study that would show us whether or not the hotel is too much for the system.

  • “Who did they hand pick for the board this time???”
    Who signed up to run before the end of the August deadline? Board members aren’t be appointed if someone runs for the seat.

  • Another issue I found, was in a report GSD sent to Water Rights, showing how much water GSD diverted from the South Fork Eel River in 2017.


    I question the fact, GSD some how looses or displaces 41.33 acre feet of water in 2017, somewhere between when they divert the raw water from the river, treat it and then provide it to their customers. That is net loose of 13,610,794 gallons of water in 2017. Where did it go?

    The other issue I have, is that GSD is selling “Bulk Water” again. They state, they sold 5.33 acre feet of “Bulk Water” in 2017. That’s 1,736,788 gallons of water GSD treats and someone gets cheap from a fire hydrant, like the one down at the Water Treatment Plant, the one with a meter on it. It looks more like an E-Z water pickup drive up than a fire hydrant. Who is buying it and trucking it to…

  • So I wrote GSD and asked who, what, why, when and where GSD looses 41.33 acre feet, aka 13,610,794 gallons of water in 2017, Here’s what Jennie Short @ GSD told me:

    “Ed, this difference is the water “lost” within the system. Every water system experiences loss of water within their system. Things such as the waterlines leaking underground, valves leaking, tanks leaking, operations such as backwash, fire hydrant exercising, etc. This is on the higher side of “normal” but is still acceptable. The District has made significant efforts over the past decade to minimize this water loss amount.”

    “I consider it to be normal for a system with infrastructure the age that ours is.”

    “Thanks, Jennie”

    So, the next time you pay your GSD water bill and GSD is asking you to conserve water or they put you on a restriction because the river is low. Maybe you can ask GSD why they waste 13,610,794 gallons of water per year and how that waste of water could be better served left in the South Fork Eel River for coho, chinook, steelhead and yellow legged frogs.

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