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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Ventura County El Rio South-Central Sewer Collection Design

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EPA is considering authorizing the expenditure of funds awarded to the County of Ventura, California, in March of 2006. These funds ($652,200) were provided by the U.S. Congress to help the County with the design and construction for the sewer collection system to serve the El Rio–South-Central Area.

The community of El Rio (population 6,200) lies in an unincorporated area of Ventura County north of the City of Oxnard. Housing there was initially constructed for the farm laborers. With no conventional wastewater system in the area, all of the homes were forced to rely on the traditional method of septic tanks and leach fields for the disposal of wastewater.

In order to prevent contamination to the drinking water aquifers under El Rio that could result from leaking septic tanks, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board mandated the complete phase-out of septic tanks by January 1, 2008. Ventura County has proposed to install about 2,116 linear feet of new sewage collection pipeline in the El Rio – South Central area in order to terminate the use of septic tanks in the area, which can pollute local drinking water wells. This project is necessary to comply with an enforcement action brought by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) to bring the water wells into compliance with State and federal standards. In addressing requirements under NEPA, the Environmental Assessment (EA) described the entire project ordered by the RWQCB, including the El Rio West portion. The project covered by this grant is for the El Rio South-Central area and other area if future funding becomes available.

Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), EPA has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) and a supplement to that EA that analyze the potential environmental impacts of the proposed project. Based on a review of the EA and supplemental EA, EPA determined that the project will not have significant environmental impacts and has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FNSI). The EA and FONSI are available in PDF format, below.

Comments and Contact Information

No administrative action will be taken on this proposed project prior to the expiration of this comment period, which ends March 28, 2006. Comments, via letter, fax or e-mail, should be sent to:

Howard Kahan (kahan.howard@epa.gov)
U.S. EPA Region 9 (WTR-4)
600 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 1460
San Francisco, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 244-1819
Fax: (213) 244-1850 (fax)

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