Russian River spill
EDITOR: The Russian River Watershed Protection Committee has tracked Russian River County Sanitation District sewer issues for the past 35 years. My comments quoted in your story on 100,000-gallon raw sewage spill need further clarification ("Sewage spill's aftermath," Saturday).
Unlike most Sonoma County treatment systems, the West County is an extremely challenging and expensive area to construct a conventional sewer. Besides periodic floods, we have high water tables, weak soils, extensive underground tree roots from giant trees and steep slopes with collapsing slides. The construction history of the sanitation district involved multiple lawsuits between the county and contractors. There were many unanticipated problems impacting construction that probably contributed over the years to our leaky system, now 30 years old.
Collection system maintenance has seldom included extensive testing and leaky pipe replacement. Because of a limited rate base that nonetheless pays some of the highest rates in the county, funds aren't available to fix collection system problems. Therefore breakdowns of one sort or another occur almost every time there is a big storm. Once rain leaks into pipes and contacts sewage, it's contaminated and must be processed as raw sewage. This results in extremely high flows that put extraordinary pressure on aging infrastructure.
Russian River Watershed Protection Committee
Sonoma's pink door
EDITOR: Seriously, can't these 12 people find something better to do with their time ("Sonoma shop's pink front has some seeing red," Monday)? Historic and aesthetic values around the Sonoma Plaza were gone long ago. Get real, a pink door doesn't hurt anything.
PAMELA MILLERICK HELLEN