Email Vesta
Blog Home Page

Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Camp Meeker Beat - December 2011

Quietly Off in the Woods
November is behind us, and we enter the gauntlet of Christmas shopping.     Christmas carols assault the ears at every shopping mall, gas station, convenience store, and coffee shop.  Fortunately, home in Camp Meeker all is blissfully quiet.  Even Christmas lights are rare here (and that’s too bad – I’m a bit of a Grinch this time of year, but even I think Christmas lights are pretty cool – so put ‘em up!).   

Yep, Camp Meeker is blissfully quiet. TOO quiet, like they say in the cowboy movies.  A guy can’t find anything to write about in his column when it’s this quiet.  There were some interesting things happening last month, after my deadline.

MOOOving Righ Along...
Our local radio station, KOWS FM, hosted a pretty darn good Halloween party at the Occidental Y.  It’s true that the radio station is based in Occidental (and therefore outside my turf), but considering that a good many of the DJ’s and radio show  hosts on the station (including yours truly, Saturdays 11-noon) live in Camp Meeker. You can find the radio station at 107.3 on your FM dial, and at on the internet.

Okay, Moving on to Reality  
There isn’t a lot happening on the Camp Meeker Board front, as the board takes care of routine items with a minimum of fuss.  The Camp Meeker supper club continues its merry way after a hiatus in October. Further expansions on the idea are in the works – a Breakfast Club, anyone?

Septic Tank Regulations & Us
All is quiet on the wastewater front – no new sewer proposals in the wind.  However, there is some action on the septic tank regulation front. Way back in 2000, the State Assembly passed bill AB 855, apparently bringing stringent regulations to the owners of septic tanks.  By the letter of the law, those homeowners among us would be on the hook for mandatory inspections (on your dime), and quite possibly some very expensive repairs and upgrades.   

The intent of this bill was to respond, politically, to some situation (I think in Southern California) where a water pollution issue was definitively tied to leaking septic tanks.

But wait, you say: way back in 2000?  Why haven’t I heard anything?  Fair question.  Although the bill was passed eleven years ago, the State of California has been wrestling with the thorny question of exactly how this bill will be enforced.  As you might expect, this bill has gotten rural California pretty riled up at the prospect of those inspections and repairs. 

The last time there was a public meeting on the issue in 2009 in Santa Rosa, they had to close down and reschedule the meeting before a riot broke out – and it almost did anyway.  Chastened, the state water officials went back to the drawing board and trimmed the rules down.  Whereas before the proposed regulations affected virtually every septic system owner in the state, the revised rules only target those within 600 feet of an impaired waterway – and since Dutch Bill Creek is just such a waterway, all  of us in Camp Meeker (along with most of the west  county) are still on the hook. 

The other bad news there is that most of the 45,000 septic tank owners in the county will now be breathing sighs of relief instead of standing by our side fighting against these regulations – now that they no longer have skin in the game.

What happens next?  
Heck if I know. The comment period for the new set of rules just closed a couple of weeks ago – and there was nothing close to the near-pitchfork rebellion of 2009. There was a quick article in the Press Democrat in early October, and then…nothing.  It’s a little eerie, actually.  If these rules are going to be, at long last,   implemented, I presume that there will be some grace period, some amount of time to get ready.  

What can you do?  Try to stay informed.  Keep your septic well-maintained.  Prevention is better than cure.