What’s in the Water?

On September 28, Council candidate Richard ET Sadowski stated during the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum that raw sewage leaks from one of the City’s sewer mains into the City’s drinking water. He repeated the claim on September 29 during the Tribune’s candidates interview and added that coronavirus is also being conducted through the City’s water supply.  

I asked Mr. Sadowski for proof of his contentions because, if true, this is a health threat to our residents and Public Works needs to correct it.  Mr Sadowski has so far refused to offer evidence to support his claim.  

I investigated and found the following report from the Regional Water Quality Control Board: State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board Central Coast Region Staff Report for Regular Meeting of May 28-29, 2015

Subject: Morro Bay Groundwater Degradation 

Staff Contact: Dean Thomas, 805/549-3690 

Linda Stedjee and other residents of the City of Morro Bay presented their case at the May 2014 Central Coast Water Board meeting that leaking sewers are the cause of elevated nitrate concentrations in City’s supply wells near Morro Creek. Staff maintained its concurrence with the City’s findings that the predominant source of nitrate is upstream irrigated agriculture. 

At the May 2014 meeting, the Board requested that the City collect caffeine samples (a wastewater indicator) from the City’s supply wells to further investigate the possibility that leaking sewers are the cause of the elevated nitrate concentrations. The City subsequently sampled water from its supply wells, State supply water, and wastewater for caffeine and sucralose, an artificial sweetener and another wastewater indicator. 

According to preliminary results, caffeine was not detected in the supply wells, but sucralose was detected at very low but essentially identical concentrations in both the supply wells and the State water supply. These results, in conjunction with recent nitrate sampling, further corroborate staff’s determination that sewage is not the predominant source of nitrate in the City’s wells. 

Water Board Engineering Geologist Dean Thomas discussed the results of the city’s sampling.  Mr. Thomas recommended that Water Board staff not spend any additional resources on this issue. Public commenters included Linda Stedjee, Marla Bruton-Sadowski, and Richard Sadowski.

The Water Board concurred with staff recommendation to accept the sampling results and not take any additional action.

The full report is available at https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralcoast//board_info/agendas/2015/may/item16/item16_stfrpt.pdf

I urge Morro Bay voters to look for the truth behind claims made by candidates for public office.  Misleading comments can lead to false conclusions and erroneous decisions.

Robert “Red” Davis

Candidate Morro Bay City Council

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