Sanitation board pays $100,000 plus to consultants for climate change input

Foam collects above a waiter aeration tank at the Valencia Water Reclamation Plant on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal

Sanitation board members voted to pay consultants more than $102,000 Monday to ensure their water reclamation plants are in keeping with climate change targets set by the state.

Members of the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District board met Monday morning at Santa Clarita City Hall where they voted in favor of a recommendation to hire consultants, Hazen and Sawyer, for $102,550.

“We have to make sure to minimize the impacts on all levels,” Sanitation Board member Laurene Weste said after the meeting.

“It’s important that we do these studies,” said Weste, a Santa Clarita City Council member who represents the city on the board. .

The consulting firm is being paid to make sure concerns about climate change are factored into the planning of SCV’s two water reclamation plants in Valencia and Saugus.

“Consulting services are necessary to provide specialized expertise in developing the plan for districts’ facilities in SCV,” the approved recommendation reads.

The consultants are deemed necessary because in 2015 Gov. Jerry Brown signed an executive order directing state agencies to take climate change into account in their planning decisions.

The order calls for a transition to near-zero-emission technologies and, specifically, sets a greenhouse gas emissions target for 2030 at 40% below 1990 levels.

“You’re going to see every organization dealing with climate change,” Weste said Monday.

When members of the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board renew the discharge permits for the Saugus and Valencia water reclamation plants, they are expected to find climate change assessments in their operating plans.

When the sanitation board went looking for the right consultants for the job, they mailed a “request for proposals” to 67 consulting firms and three responded.

Hazen and Sawyer is the highest ranked firm based on technical qualifications and cost, according to the board.

On April 29, 2015, Brown issued an executive order to establish a California greenhouse gas reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

A greenhouse gas — such as carbon dioxide or methane — absorbs infrared radiation and traps heat inside the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect.

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