Letters to the Editor
February 26th, 2009

To the Editor:
I would like to offer a correction to Mr. Bob Stroh’s numbers presented in the Gazette on February 19, 2009 regarding the cost of the Fillmore and Santa Paula Sewer Plants. Mr. Stroh stated that Fillmore is “paying $80 million to handle our sewage when Santa Paula can handle twice the sewage at their new plant for $56 million.”
The awarded Santa Paula bid price for their plant and appurtenances was $57,307,351 for Fillmore it was $42,852,454. Of the Fillmore cost $1,563,863 is for the levee up to Hwy 126 and is reimbursed to the City by the adjacent Business Park Developer. This makes the price to Fillmore $41,288,591 ie: $57.3M Santa Paula and $41.3M Fillmore.
I believe Mr. Stroh is getting the $80M from a 2005 estimate of $82M for the entire Fillmore project. After City Council cost reductions the estimated total cost of the project is now about $77M. The City received a $3M Proposition 50 Grant and we are currently projecting to be about $3M under budget when the project finishes this year. Also the Fillmore price includes $2M for sewer main repairs. Therefore the total Fillmore cost for the entire project for the Water Recycling Program will be about $69M from 2002 to estimated completion. This includes land cost, engineering, legal, environmental work, etc.
I have not seen the total cost of the Santa Paula program from 2002 to their completion but it will certainly exceed Fillmore’s cost when you add their total costs for land, engineering, legal, environmental work, Regional Water Quality Control Board permits, etc. Santa Paula did not have to build a water recycling system but were able to simply use percolation ponds. If Fillmore could have solely used ponds and avoided the water recycling, our project would have cost less as well. Unfortunately the geology in Fillmore does not permit this.
I hope this will help keep the numbers straight. Please feel free to call me at (805) 524-1500 ext. 231 if you have any Public Works related questions.
Very truly yours,
Bert J. Rapp, P.E.,
Public Works Director

To the Editor:
Thanks for the picture story on Mr. Bob Hammond's wind turbine. With the hundreds of wind machines in our area this is some good news for a change. In the story you mentioned permit "fees" of $10,000. Can you, or anyone else, please explain why taking one old machine down and replacing it with a new one, on the same structure, requires any fee. Could it be bureaucracy gone wild? I see Hammond's turbine almost every day and it is not an eyesore, offensive or damaging to the environment and is no threat to wildlife or any endangered species. It also presents a modern, clean, and renewal power source without any government help or bailout. Ventura County should encourage more privately owned wind turbines for every inoperative wind machine and forget "fees". I know that will go against the grain of government but so what, the farmers, ranchers and residents will all benefit.
Tom Montali

To the Editor:
Fillmore's water has a lot to be desired, it is so "hard" you almost have to wear a hardhat in the shower. Is the solution staring us right in the face? We have spent and will continue spending money on our new water treatment plant. While I might add, having to put up with our heavy salt and mineralized water. It costs us more for detergents to do their job. Scale in our pipes cause failure of our plumbing and fixtures. Many people are required to hire a plumber to address this problem because not everyone is able to do it themselves. Citizens on a fixed income's are further financially stressed.
Recycling water sounds great taking the treated water and reusing it to water lawns such as the high school etc. This will be accomplished with the same water than causes our plumbing problems now.
Maybe nature could teach us a lesson. The river that runs below our city carries water to the sea every day. It doesn't charge us to get rid of the floodwaters that would ravage us without it. Sespe Creek needed a little engineering and so would our river that flows to the ocean.
Land acquisition is very expensive in California, if we look at the riverbed we can maybe see possibilities right before our own eyes. Burry a large pipe in the riverbed to the sea Fillmore water treatment could dump it's treated water into the pipe, so could Santa Paula and parts of Ventura. Costs could be shared by each user reducing the cost to individuals.
In order to stop salt pollution of the Oxnard plain we now hire a polluting truck to exchange soft water tanks located in subscribers homes at considerable expense. In the end it is dumped into the ocean. In a sense the trucks that handle this bi-product, brine, are our pipeline. How do you think by the city considering a water purification plant would be nearly as efficient? Consider the maintenance factor alone, In my experience of over 50 years working with machinery of all types much of it on water treatment plants, I can tell you a plant to condition the water of our city would be very expensive to build and very expensive to maintain.
Going green in the latest consideration. Conservation groups probable would probably cause an uproar, what would it hurt? once the pipeline was in well below the surface of the riverbed the next rainstorm runoff effectively hides all of the evidence causing no salt pollution of our ground. It seems to me to make sense. Where does the salt come from in the first place? Recycle the salt. Let the citizens have soft water.
Burkley Neff