Social Media Response

Social Media can be an effective communication tool but it can also be used to spread misinformation and incite an emotional response. LACSD wants to provide factual information to the public in a productive manner. Recent social media posts and email blasts related to our agency claim to be from concerned citizens.  Once the topics start shifting and the posts contain misleading information, it becomes apparent that the underlying intention is to create distrust and doubt about our organization. Unfortunately, these baseless attacks are costing our community more money in legal fees and staff time that would be better spent productively solving problems. These inflammatory allegations are not a good reflection on our community and could result in a reduction in property values. The purpose of this page is to set the record straight.
Wastewater and Sewer
Sewer Images

Recently the District received a public records request for pre-repair video inspection footage of slip-lined pipes adjacent to the circumference of Lake Arrowhead (lake). This proved to be a very time-consuming task and after many hours of review staff provided the requested footage to the requesting party. In some cases, the footage provided contained pre-construction video outside the scope of the request.  This was provided to ensure that any footage of the requested information was not accidentally omitted as certain projects ran concurrently with the lake main slip-lining project.

Recent images posted to social media on or around April 19, 2024 are an example of video footage outside the scope of the request. These images are wrongfully described as “photos of the main trunk line directly adjacent to Lake Arrowhead right by the trails.”  Although not all the images can be clearly identified due to lack of information provided in the post, other images clearly show that they are too small in diameter to be a trunk line/lake main and lack the flow that would be found in that main.

Again, all the video footage provided specifically requested or otherwise is pre-construction footage and has since been repaired or replaced.

Leaking Sewer Lines

LACSD’s highest priority is public health and there has been a lot of misinformation that LACSD’s sewer pipelines are to blame for PFAS contamination. This is a distraction. Please be assured that LACSD places a high priority on continually maintaining, repairing, and replacing our sewer.

Our sewer system is highly regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board who would quickly step in if there was any evidence that sewage is leaking into the lake. The people posting this misinformation filed a baseless complaint about our sewer to the Water Board who conducted an investigation and found that there was no need for regulatory action. 

The real fact is this; it is not mathematically possible for sewage to be solely responsible for PFAS in the lake. The levels of PFAS in wastewater are lower or similar to the levels seen in Lake Arrowhead. There are a lot of other elements in sewage and the quantity required to result in the concentrations of PFAS in the lake would create a lot of other problems such as bacteria, algae, and reduced clarity. This is a community wide problem that needs to be solved with thoughtful consideration based on factual data.

Recycled Water
LACSD delivers approximately 225 acre-feet of recycled water to the Lake Arrowhead Country Club per year to irrigate the golf course. There are restrictions on how recycled water is used. Runoff and overspray are not allowed and the golf course is continually inspected to ensure the regulations are being followed. No recycled water is used for irrigation around drinking water wells.

The Lake Arrowhead Country Club has a holding pond where the recycled water is delivered. Before a rain storm, the Country Club fills this pond with water from Grass Valley Lake to ensure recycled water does not overflow. The use of recycled water is highly regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board. The people posting this misinformation filed a complaint with the Water Board about our recycled water. Their investigation revealed that the complaint was baseless and no action was taken. 

It is important to note that our recycled water contains lower levels of PFAS than Lake Arrowhead so it is not mathematically possible for recycled water to be solely responsible. It is possible that some recycled water may runoff from the golf course during a rainstorm but it would be diluted by the storm water and further diluted in Grass Valley Lake. Only half of Grass Valley Lake's water flows to Lake Arrowhead and only when the gate is open which is typically in the winter when recycled water is not being delivered. This flow would again be diluted in Lake Arrowhead which contains 47,400 acre-feet of water compared to the 225 acre-feet of recycled water that is delivered annually.
CDO Facts
A complaint letter regarding Lake Arrowhead Community Services District (LACSD) was recently sent to the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (Water Board).  This complaint has made its rounds on the Internet but unfortunately contains many inaccuracies both in fact and understanding.  We would like to provide our community with a more accurate overview of the challenges LACSD faces, as well as what we are doing to overcome those challenges, with regards to our wastewater collection system.

During severe storm events, the amount of storm water that flows into our sewer collection system can be quite high.  This storm water, along with our usual sewage inflow, is normally treated to required standards and then sent down a 10 mile outfall pipe from the back of our treatment plant in the Deer Lodge Park area down to our effluent disposal site in Hesperia where it percolates back into the ground water system.  

If the amount of storm water is so great that the overall volume exceeds the capacity of the outfall pipe, and if all other available storage ponds are full, then LACSD must allow water to be released from the back of our treatment plant into an unnamed creek that flows down and eventually makes its way, with all other accumulated area storm water, into the West Fork of the Mojave Creek in the Hesperia area.  Unfortunately, this is considered to be an unauthorized discharge due to the fact that the volume released exceeds the permitted amount and also due to the fact that the water discharged is going into what will be a natural waterway, rather than being discharged to a percolation site.  It should also be noted that the discharge released is composed of up to 80% rainwater at this point and the vast majority of it has been treated to the highest wastewater standards.  It is simply that the storm water is coming into our treatment facility much faster than we can push it through our outfall pipe.

Since these discharges only happen as a result of severe storm events the obvious conclusion is that LACSD has excessive storm water flowing into its wastewater collection system.  This is referred to as Inflow and Infiltration (I&I).  Our sewer system was not designed to accommodate storm water as that should be handled by the County’s culvert system.  We can surmise from the flow trends that the problem is mostly inflow from stormwater flooding across roadways, avoiding the County culverts and entering our collection system through manholes or other sections of the system. 

In an attempt to reduce the amount of storm water entering LACSD’s wastewater system, Cease and Desist Order R6V-2013-0022 (the CDO) was enacted more than 11 years ago, on March 14, 2013. The CDO specifically outlines a game plan and timeline for LACSD to follow to eliminate the excessive I&I. Furthermore, LACSD provides annual reports to the Water Board and discusses in detail such items as system I&I analysis, flow monitoring and rainfall analysis, cost effective analysis, descriptions of planned I&I reduction projects, details of completed I&I reduction projects, outfall evaluation, precipitation data, budget to expected cost comparisons and much more.  

LACSD has made great progress in reducing I&I in the last ten-plus years. The following is taken from the recent Field Operations report presented to the LACSD Board of Directors on April 23, 2024. It details the progress made and current status of CDO compliance:

"Since the adoption of the CDO on March 14, 2013, through June of 2023, the District has completed 540 pipe repairs, slip-lined 29,468 linear feet of pipeline, replaced 14,510 linear feet of pipeline and rehabilitated/repaired 2,089 manholes within the District’s wastewater collection system. This work, combined with I&I inspection activities for the same period, amounts to nearly $13.7 million dollars that the District has spent to reduce or eliminate I&I occurring within the system."

"These methods for eliminating I&I have shown improvements as evidenced by the reduction in wet to dry weather influent ratios. Additionally, at no time has the 2018 CDO interim standard to not exceed a maximum daily flow of 8.2 million gallons per day (MGD) or the 2021 interim standard to not exceed a maximum daily flow of 7.0 MGD ever been surpassed. The maximum daily flows as reported in the annual I&I Project Completion Reports required by the CDO for 2018 through  2023 were:"

Year Max Allowable Flow Max Actual Flow
2018 8.2 MGD 3.4 MGD
2019 8.2 MGD 6.3 MGD
2020 8.2 MGD 3.4 MGD
2021 7.0 MGD 1.7 MGD
2022 7.0 MGD 2.8 MGD
2023 7,0 MGD 5.9 MGD

The CDO sets a final standard to be met by June 30, 2026 to not exceed a maximum daily flow of 5.8 MGD.  As stated in the presentation, LACSD feels confident that the final standard will be met by the June 2026 deadline given that 2023 had unusually excessive precipitation (the year of “Snowmageddon”) and LACSD only hit a maximum daily flow of 5.9 MGD.  In addition, repairs, replacements and improvements to the collection system are continually ongoing. 

As can be seen, the CDO is not being, nor has ever been, ignored by either LACSD or the Water Board. To the contrary, the CDO has greatly influenced how the wastewater collection system is maintained. 
LAFCO  Misrepresentation
Allegations have been made that the General Manager of LACSD made misrepresentations to the Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO). LAFCO oversees the establishment, expansion, governance, and dissolution of local government agencies and their service areas to meet current and future community needs. When LACSD was formed in 1978, LAFCO adopted Resolution 1730 stating in Section 2(a)(8), as a condition of approval, that LACSD would "continue to explore possibilities of adding additional services at the earliest possible time..." 

In 2010, LAFCO conducted a service review for the Lake Arrowhead community and made the recommendation that LACSD's sphere of influence should be expanded to include land owned by the District in Hesperia. LAFCO initiated this change, LACSD did not apply for this. It is LAFCO's statement that LACSD assuming additional responsibilities “is in concert with the Commission’s community service ideology, there would be a single agency providing the full range of municipal services within a community…and reduction of multiple agencies providing the same service." Additionally, the current General Manager was not employed by LACSD at the time and, therefore, could not have made any misrepresentations to LAFCO as is alleged.