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Sewage in the Downie River?

posted Nov 25, 2009, 11:03 AM by Stevee Duber   [ updated Dec 17, 2009, 9:40 PM ]
          On Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 11:00am the Sierra County Board of Supervisors will be deciding whether or not to allow a new residence and septic system within the floodplain and stream banks of the Downie River. The HSRA is appealing the Planning Commission's approval of the project because we believe the project threatens the water quality of Downieville's popular swimming holes. The septic system is proposed to be placed within the floodplain and on the bank of the Downie River just upstream from the Pearl Street Bridge. 
            Septic systems which are not properly sited pass suspended solids and fecal coliform bacteria into receiving waters. Conventional septic systems remove no more than 10-40% of the total nitrogen in domestic wastewater. Nitrification results in increased bacterial and algae growth in streams. Other pollutants that may not be completly removed include pharmaceuticals, other synthetic organic chemicals, phosphorus and viruses. 
             Building in Downieville is challenging because of steep terrain and flood prone rivers, but there are ways to develop which will not further pollute the water we, our kids and visitors bathe in. Please, let your Supervisor know how much you value clean water and the ability to swim in the river. Beach closures are common in California. Don't let it happen here!
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