by Scott Bass

“Stop the shit!”

Shaun Tomson was pissed. He said the word shit, and I could tell that at first he wanted to use the more PC ‘sewage’ or perhaps ‘fecal matter.’ But instead he opted for ‘shit.’ Normally not a big deal, but pretty heavy stuff coming from the eloquent, classy and well-spoken Mr. Tomson. My image of the 1977 World Surfing Champion is closer to Prince Charles than Jeff Spicoli. Shaun’s an ambassador, a diplomat, and an aristocratic figure in the surf world. I think that’s why his word choice resonated in the dusty back corner of my brain that I reserve for my conscience–he said the “S” word. And coming from Shaun Tomson, well, thems fightin’ words.<

The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) pumps 240 million gallons of shit into the ocean everyday. Half of it, 120 million gallons, receives only primary treatment because no secondary treatment is required. That’s right, 120 million gallons of living fecal bacteria or excrement (AKA: shit) pumped into the ocean–straight off Huntington Beach–everyday.

The OCSD has permission to pump the shit into the ocean by way of a dastardly waiver known as the “301 (h) waiver”. Two decades ago, when the population base in Orange County was much smaller (approx. 1.5 million) the district received a “waiver” to the 1972 Clean Water Act’s requirement. So, for the past twenty years, Orange County ocean water has been on the receiving end of living fecal bacteria.

Here’s the good news. The evil waiver (301 h) is up for renewal, and you and I can stop its renewal. Here’s how:

The Surfrider Foundation is involved in a city-by-city campaign to stop the Orange County Sanitation Districts 301 (h) Wavier. According to the Surfrider foundation, each city in Orange County serviced by OCSD has a vote on the OCSD Board of Directors. Twenty-one of twenty-five Directors on the Orange County Sanitation District Board are city council members in Orange County. You and I vote these people into office. We have the power. Each member will vote on extending the waiver, or ending the wavier in November 2002. If we can get a majority if the members of the board, or 13 out of the 25, to vote against the waiver, then we will defeat the waiver and OCSD will have to do full secondary treatment of our sewage. The Costa Mesa, Seal Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach City Councils have already approved resolutions opposing renewal of the waiver. Other city councils are considering holding special hearings on this very important issue.

There are two ways you can help. The first is to send a letter to the Orange County Sanitation Board of Directors asking them to oppose the wavier (see the sample). The second is to attend local city council meetings and ask that they pass a resolution opposing the waiver.


Let’s all get into action. Shaun Tomson has sounded the trumpet–it’s time to move forward. Below is a sample fax letter for you to use. Cut and paste it into an email if you wish.
fax, e-mail or call your city representative.


Orange County Sanitation District Board of Directors
C/O Lisa Murphy, OCSD Communications Manager
10844 Ellis Avenue
Fountain Valley, CA. 92708-7018

Re: 301 (h) Wavier Public Comments-Please Oppose the Wavier

Dear Orange County Sanitation District Board of Directors,

As a person who enjoys swimming and surfing in our oceans, I am writing to ask that you vote to oppose the extension and/or renewal of the fecal bacteria waiver (AKA 301 (h) wavier) that is now held and used by the Orange County Sanitation District.

As you know, this waiver allows the sanitation district to discharge 120 million gallons a day of primary treated sewage, which contains fecal bacteria into the ocean off Huntington Beach. This sewage has been shown to make its way back towards the shoreline. I’m very upset that this sewage is not fully treated to the standards of the Clean Water Act, which require full secondary treatment. I am totally opposed to undertreated sewage being pumped into the ocean and potentially exposing me to sewage products when I surf and recreate in the ocean. I am confident you are too.

I support clean oceans across the country and the world. I request that you do too. With elections just around the corner, I am positive your constituents will be watching closely. You can do your part by opposing the Orange Sanitation District’s request to renew their fecal bacteria waiver (301-(h) waiver). Thank you for voting for a clean ocean and for opposing the waiver.


(Name & Address)


*Letters should be addressed to the:
Orange County Sanitation District Board of Directors

*They should be sent to:
Lisa Murphy, OCSD Communications Manager

*Mailing address:
10844 Ellis Avenue
Fountain Valley, CA. 92708-7018

*Fax Number: (714) 962-0356

*E-Mail: Lmurphy@ocsd.com

For more information on how to get involved contact the Surfrider Foundation at (949) 492-8170 or emazzarella@surfrider.org or Dr. Jan Vandersloot with the Ocean Outfall Group at Jonv3@aol.com.

Let others in the community know about this travesty. Click here to rap about it in our Bulletin Board forum.

This article is from the Surfermag.com archives. Everyone should send an email or FAX to Lisa Murphy immediately.

We have just learned that there is pending federal legislation that wouldgreatly help the TCA build the Foothill-South toll road by permanentlysuspending all state laws that would regulate the construction, operationand maintenance of the toll road through San Onofre State Beach. As youknow, San Onofre State Beach is on land leased from the US Marine Corps.

This is a sneaky attempt by the TCA to stop California from protecting itsstate park from roads, development and pollution.

If this bill were to become law all California environmental, transportationand public safety protections could be suspended in order to facilitate thetoll road passing through the state park. The bill could also block anyfuture state laws that might protect the park from this destructive road.See bottom of this message for text of the legislation.


You can help remove this pro-toll road language from the legislation. Pleasemake a phone call TODAY to Senator Feinstein’s Los Angeles office, whichalso covers Orange County.


Tell Senator Feinstein’s office that you oppose the language in DefenseAppropriations bill HR 4546, Section 2861. Say that the language wouldsuspend all state laws concerning an environmentally destructive toll roadthat would run through San Onofre State Beach, which is leased from theDepartment of Defense. Say that you want Senator Feinstein to have thislanguage removed from the bill in the conference committee. If you live inOrange County, please be sure to mention that.

FEINSTEIN’S LOS ANGELES OFFICE phone number is (310) 914-7300. OFFICE HOURS9am-5pm.

This could be the most important phone call you make this year to stop thetoll road and protect San Onofre State Beach!

Thank you for taking action to protect our state park and stop thedestructive Foothill-South toll road.

H.R.4546Sponsor: Rep Stump, Bob(by request) (introduced 4/23/2002)Related Bills: H.RES.415, S.2514, S.2515Latest Major Action: 6/27/2002 Resolving differences / Conference –Senateactions. Latest Status: Senate insists on its amendment, asks for aconference, appoints conferees Levin; Kennedy; Byrd; Lieberman; Cleland;Landrieu; Reed; Akaka; Nelson FL; Nelson NE; Carnahan; Dayton; Bingaman;Warner; Thurmond; McCain; Smith NH; Inhofe; Santorum; Roberts; Allard;Hutchinson; Sessions; Collins; Bunning.Title: To authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2003 for militaryactivities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and fordefense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe personnelstrengths for such fiscal year for the Armed Forces, and for other purposes.Note: H.R. 4546 and S. 2514 are defense authorization bills from the Houseand Senate Armed Services Committees respectively. On 6/27/2002, the Senateincorporated S. 2514, as amended, in H.R. 4546 as a substitute amendment andsubsequently passed H.R. 4546 as amended.

HR 4546 PCS

Subtitle D–Other Matters


Section 2851(a) of the Military Construction Authorization Act for FiscalYear 1999 (division B of Public Law 105-261; 112 Stat. 2219), as amended bysection 2867 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2002(Public Law 107-107; 115 Stat. 1334) is amended in the first sentence bystriking ‘easement to construct’ and all that follows through the period atthe end and inserting ‘easement to construct, operate, and maintain arestricted access highway, notwithstanding any provision of State law thatwould otherwise prevent the Secretary from granting the easement or theAgency from constructing, operating, or maintaining the restricted accesshighway.

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