RRWPC: Russian River Residents: Important meeting on septic rules

Note corrections in red from RRWPC

Notice of Public Hearing – Russian River Watershed Pathogen Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) & Prohibition against the Discharge of Fecal Waste Materials

Dear River Friends:

This notice (below) provides information on the critical up-coming Regional Board Meeting regarding the Russian River Pathogen TMDL.  After ten years of work, the Regional Board is finally ready to adopt this new regulation which will also be inserted into the North Coast Basin Plan.  It will set a new standard for prohibiting the discharge of pathogens into the Russian River and important tributaries.  Over the years at least three hearings and that many workshops have taken place on this issue. At least three sets of documents with accompanying revisions were published in 2015, 2017, and 2019. The notice (see link below) includes links to important documents.  We urge you to examine these documents, including the Executive Officer’s Summary Report, and the very interesting response to comments in Appendices A, B, and C.  We expect the Board will act on adopting this TMDL at this next meeting.


AUGUST 14, 2019 BEGINNING SOON AFTER 8:30 AM5550 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa, near the Sonoma County Airport.

This action will provide the basis for new septic management requirements.  For instance:

  • Septic inspections by a qualified expert will need to take place every five years.

  • Cesspools will no longer be allowed, although if use is not expanded, low income people can put off changes for up to 15 years. Etc.

  • Most lower river septic owners will be affected by this new regulation, especially in Monte Rio and Villa Grande.

  • More stringent rules will apply to properties within 600’ of the Russian River or blue stream tributaries (even if only part of your property is within 600’).  This may include supplementary treatment if soils are found to be inadequate at filtering pathogens.

  • The approved documents are subject to review by other State Agencies and nothing will be considered final all approvals are received, which is expected to be about a year from now.   Timelines will kick in at that point.

RRWPC will send out our next mailer with information about the results of this meeting at the end of August.  We intend to continue monitoring implementation of new rules and keeping you informed.  Feel free to send us your questions.

We will be taking a vacation in September and the subsequent mailer will be sent out in mid-November.  (November mailer includes RRWPC donor list for prior year.)

Thanks for supporting the lower Russian River and RRWPC’s work.



  1. PA Critz

    The paragraph above contains the sentence : “At least three sets of documents with accompanying revisions were published in 1915, 1917, and 1919.”

    Should the years be 2015, 2017, and 2019?

    Thank you for clarifying this.

    • Janus Matthes


      I’m getting this clarified from Brenda. She has documents on the Russian River going back that far…..

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