For years, the city of Eureka sent treated wastewater directly into Humboldt Bay from its Elk River processing plant.
But five years ago, the North Coast Regional Water Control Board ordered the city to “cease and desist” and to move to ocean discharge by 2030. The city is now seeking a resolution that would allow wastewater to continue to be discharged into the bay. The water board will meet in mid-August to decide.
Whether or not the city is granted the exemption to continue, there are plans in the works to make upgrades to the Elk River wastewater facility.
Surfrider, Humboldt Baykeeper, and EPIC argue the city needs to stop sending treated sewage into the bay and comply with the water board’s order to move to ocean discharge.
“We think that a discharge exemption is putting the cart before the horse. They need to vastly improve the wastewater treatment system to clean up that effluent before it could be determined whether it’s reasonable to continue discharging it into the bay,” Jennifer Kalt, the director of Humboldt Baykeeper, told the Times-Standard.