BRAWLEY â€” The Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) is still waiting for requested information from One World Beef (OWB) concerning their request for a wastewater discharge permit.
Jose Angel, Executive Officer with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, addressed the city council at their meeting of Monday, October 3.
â€œI just want to give an update on the status of the application that my board has pending for the slaughterhouse,â€ said Angel. â€œThis application is for our board to issue a revised permit so the slaughterhouse can discharge its wastewater to a 40 acre parcel.â€
â€œOriginally, the slaughterhouse was going to continue to discharge to the city with their current wastewater system,â€ said Angel. â€œSince then, the project has evolved to the extent that it has been redefined and changed. Even though we found a way to move forward with the project, it has been difficult to permit. OWB has also needed to get a permit from the city of Brawley. We didnâ€™t have a definition of the new project and neither did the city. It was difficult for all of us. The latest proposal received is that they are abandoning the original concept for discharge. This project has been difficult to accommodate. There is still information that we need.â€
â€œOWB proposes to discharge to the onsite ponds on an interim basis and we have provided direction to them not to discharge anywhere else, unless the city grants a permit, until we comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA),â€ continued Angel. â€œThe RWQCB is the lead CEQA agency. We also informed OWB not to start shoveling any dirt for construction purposes. The city has the opportunity to comment on the CEQA document as a responsible agency. We are working very closely with city staff. In my opinion, the city has been more than diligent. This has been a very difficult project.â€
â€œOur next step is to circulate the draft of the CEQA document for public review and comment,â€ said Angel. â€œWe expect to do this within ten working days.â€
â€œUltimately, we just want to see the plant opened, be operational, provide employment, and function in a responsible manner,â€ said councilman George Nava.
â€œWe donâ€™t want jobs at the expense of the environment,â€ said Angel. â€œWe donâ€™t want jobs at the expense of the city, either. We are behind the city in protecting their interests. I want to orchestrate a meeting with OWB, the city, our board, and other involved parties to put everything on the table. There is still missing information.â€
â€œWe are working closely with the RWQCB to get this project going,â€ said councilwoman Helen Noriega. â€œWe donâ€™t want to pay those penalties again, which are public funds.â€
â€œThe city is doing what it is supposed to do,â€ said Angel.