San Luis Obispo Chapter

KYH2O Accomplishments


January 12, 2016: Surfrider SLO submitted public testimony to the County of San Luis Obispo regarding our support for the county’s moratorium on the land application of biosolids.

January 14, 2016: The Knudson Report was released which investigated potential malfeasance at South County Sanitation District (SSLOCSD). For years prior to the report, Surfrider SLO had given public testimony in Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, Oceano, and at SSLOCSD meetings. The report and the chapter’s activism helped motivate more community involvement, and we’re hopeful the community’s trust will inspire cleaner ocean discharge and eventual reclamation of nearly 3 million gallons a day of usable water in the 5 Cities area.

March 22, 2016: Surfrider SLO submitted public testimony to the County of San Luis Obispo regarding our opposition to the DCPP (Diablo Canyon Power Plant) Open-Ocean Desalination Project Proposal.

May 21, 2016: Captain and Coordinator for the chapter’s 6th Annual Hands across the Sand event in Avila Beach

June 27, 2016: Surfrider SLO submitted public testimony to the California State Lands Commission regarding our support for CEQA review of CSLC’s permitted Diablo Canyon Power Plant lands as part of the DCPP’s decommissioning process between 2016 and 2025.

September 2016: Collated January – August Ocean Water sampling results from SLO County and presented results the San Luis Obispo County Health Commission, asking the commission to consider enforcement actions to help improve areas of frequent exceedance (such as Port San Luis and Avila Beach). The commission’s staff will work on a display for the website which will make reportable data more accessible to the public. The chapter has been providing feedback to the county regarding the display’s design.

October 13, 2016: Surfrider SLO submitted public testimony to the Cambria Community Service District in support of the No Project proposal for their Sustainable Water (Desalination) Project.

October 2016: Attended stakeholder meeting for Cal Wave project (wave energy potential project off Vandenberg AFB). Later in month, had meeting with Bill Toman (Project Director) asking for standards for infrastructure anchoring into ocean bottom (berths) and for vital public outreach.

November 1, 2016: Submitted op-ed to Cal Coast News entitled, “Ocean Desalination is a Political Ploy”


Surfrider SLO’s Know Your H2O program helps support healthier watersheds and advocates for No Ocean Outfall. Our chapter’s KYH2O’s Program Coordinator is Brad Snook, who also serves on our Executive Committee as Co-Chair. In 2015, it became apparent that our county’s oceans, waves, and beaches would face new threats while outstanding, unresolved issues still remained. So, KYH2O faced many challenges in 2015. However, we have many victories in the making, potentially to be further nurtured or harvested in 2016.

  • South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District (SSLOCSD): Surfrider SLO became actively involved in advocating for positive changes at SSLOCSD after a major sewage spill in December, 2010 and public disclosure of whistleblower reports who cited illegal sampling procedures at SSLOCSD’s sewage plant in Oceano. The chapter was discouraged to encounter political and institutional resistance to meaningful reforms which continued year after year. To this date, the sewage spill’s $1.1 million fine has yet to be resolved while the District’s legal and consultation fees in fighting the fine have exceeded $1.1 million. Also, potential sampling irregularities remained unresolved and the chapter’s central question still unanswered: Were District actions taken to protect the interests of ratepayers, or to protect the interests of the District Administrator and Chief Engineer, the Wallace Group?

In 2015, local citizens joined an effort to have the SSLOCSD’s past practices investigated and audited. Former Mayor of Grover Beach and SSLOCSD Board of Directors member, Debbie Peterson, played a central role in helping to build and focus citizen action. This action helped produce The Knutsen Report, the District’s “Review of Past Management Practices” going back to 2004. The District has received and authorized a final draft of the report, we requested the report to be released unedited, and we expect it to be released in January, 2016.

  • New Waste Water Reclamation Projects: KYH2O’s central claim to help reduce ocean outfall is, “The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough water. The problem is that we throw too much away”. Congratulations to Morro Bay and Pismo Beach, who presently discharge approximately 1 million gallons per day into the ocean, for dedicating resources toward design and implementation of wastewater reclamation. Also, we urge county citizens to continue to advocate and introduce Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle processes in your homes and communities.
  • Diablo Canyon Power Plant desalinated water distribution to SLO County residences: Since volunteering to assist the county’s Drought Task Force, to adding our chapter’s voice to oppose further county resources to studying this plan, to Brad Snook’s op-ed pieces in The Tribune and Cal Coast News, our chapter was dedicated in 2015 to assure the alternatives and impacts are presented before the SLO County Board of Supervisors and to the public. Important questions the Supervisors should ask before proceeding with this ridiculous plan:
    • How many nuclear power plants supply drinking water to outside communities? From my research, the answer is “ZERO”, and the risk is enormous to our water supply and economy.
    • How many seawater desalination distribution plans have been permitted by the Regional Water Quality Control Board or the California Coastal Commission, when the plan is in direct conflict the county’s (or other applicant’s) long-standing policy and when the source may not be available in 10 years?
    • Where is the testimony of stakeholders from the Five Cities area who would support this plan?
    • Where is the testimony from a purveyor who would distribute drinking water from a nuclear power plant to our community?
    • And, last but not least, is the introduction of seawater desalination going to open Pandora’s Box and induce widespread impacts on the quality of life in South County?