California Regional Water Quality Control Board
__________San Francisco Bay Region__________

Internet Address:
1515 Clay Street, Suite 1400, Oakland, California 94612
Phone (510) 622-2300 FAX (510) 622-2460

Certified Mail No.70993220000H6709900 Date:    NOV 0 1 2000

File No: 2342.04(WBH) Mr. David Cerini, Owner Petaluma Mushroom Farm 782 Thompson Lane Petaluma, CA 94952


Dear Mr. Cerini:

Enclosed is a copy of Cleanup and Abatement Order No. 00-105, relating to the illicit discharge of wastewater, washwater and polluted stormwater from your Petaluma Mushroom Farm facility located at 782 Thompson Lane, Petaluma, into Marin Creek, a tributary of the Petaluma River. The discharge has adversely impacted, and threatens to adversely impact, beneficial uses of waters of the State, in violation of the California Water Code.

I urge you to take measures necessary to comply with this Order. In view of the seriousness of the problem, I will not hesitate to pursue appropriate enforcement action should this Order be violated.

As specified in Finding 12 of Cleanup and Abatement Order No.00-105, the Regional Board is entitled to recover reasonable costs actually incurred by staff from responsible parties to oversee cleanup of unauthorized discharges which have adversely impacted or threaten to affect waters of the State. To assure that sufficient Regional Board staff resources are available to conduct the necessary reviews and approvals, we intend to include this site in this Region's SLIC Cost Recovery Program, more fully described in the attached Reimbursement Process for Regulatory Oversight enclosure. Please acknowledge in writing your intent to reimburse the State for cleanup oversight work as described in the enclosure. You may use the enclosed acknowledgment letter (attachment 1). Please return the enclosed acknowledgment letter or its equivalent by November 10, 2000.

If you have any questions, please contact William Hurley of my staff at (510) 622-2364 or or Carmen Fewless at (510) 622-2316 or

Loretta K. Barsamian Executive Officer

encl:     Cleanup and Abatement Order No. 00-105
Attachment 1 - Reimbursement Process for Regulatory Oversight Attachment 2 - Acknowledgment Letter Attachment 3 - Billing Rates cc:        List Attached



The California Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Bay Region (Board), finds that:

1.   Mr. David Cerini (discharger) owns the Petaluma Mushroom Farm facility (facility) located at 782 Thompson Lane, Petaluma, Sonoma County (site). The site is situated adjacent to Marin Creek, a tributary of the Petaluma River.

2.   The facility collects its wastewater, washwater, and polluted stormwater runoff in an on-site wastewater holding pond. A conditional waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements issued by the Board Executive Officer on September 7, 1999, pursuant to Board Resolution No. 83-3, authorizes the facility to spray-irrigate wastewater on a pasture adjacent to the facility (pasture) at rates commensurate with the pasture's soil conditions. The waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements requires that spray-irrigated wastewater be managed to minimize percolation to groundwater and prohibits the discharge of wastewater to the pasture at rates, or under conditions, that results in surface runoff from disposal fields.

3.   Board staff have witnessed improper and inadequate wastewater management practices resulting in unauthorized discharges of wastewater, washdown water and polluted stormwater runoff from the facility during several site inspections since December 1998. During two site inspections, wastewater was being discharged directly from the facility to Marin Creek. In response to these two observed discharges, Board staff issued a Notice to Comply on January 6, 1999, and a Notice of Violation on April 30, 1999. Because the observed discharges appeared to be the result of routine practices, and also considering photo documentation and comments from neighbors of the facility, it is reasonable to  infer that illicit discharges occurred frequently at the facility.

4.   The Sonoma County District Attorney's Office conducted an investigation incorporating Board staff inspection results and other evidence submitted by a citizens group which led to the September 23, 1999, Superior Court Judgment and Permanent Injunction (Pursuant to Stipulation) General Civil Case No. 222564 against the Petaluma Mushroom Farm. The Sonoma County Permit Resource and Management Department (PRMD) also cited the § 5|  facility in 1999 for operating its on-site sewage treatment and disposal system at twice the County's permitted usage. The septic system was permitted for 50 employees, whereas the PRMD determined that the facility was employing over 100 employees.

5.   Significant illicit discharges and other violations of the facility's waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements have persisted at the facility despite the citations issued by the Board, the District Attorney's Office and the PRMD, and despite numerous warnings from Board staff as described below.

6.   During a February 25, 2000, inspection, Regional Board staff observed discharges of wastewater to the pasture in violation of the facility's waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements. Wastewater was being discharged directly to the adjacent pasture through several conduits, including an unplugged overflow pipe leading from the facility's wastewater holding pond. During prior inspections and telephone conversations, Board staff repeatedly emphasized the importance of only discharging to the pasture under suitable conditions and at appropriate discharge rates. Nonetheless, during the February  25, 2000, inspection, there was more than two feet of polluted water ponded in the pasture. During this inspection staff also discovered that there had been a recent wastewater pipeline that had ruptured along the back side of the facility directly above  Marin Creek, resulting in the discharge of wastewater to the Creek. Although the waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements requires that all spill incidents be reported immediately to the Regional Board and PRMD, no such reports have been sent to the Board. In response, Board staff directed the Petaluma Mushroom Farm to cease discharging wastewater to the pasture, until a site investigation was completed which adequately assessed the extent of any groundwater impacts. This Order, therefore, contains tasks for investigating and mitigating impacts to the groundwater resources in the vicinity of the site, consistent with federal EPA guidelines and Board policy.

7.   During a follow-up telephone conversation, the discharger informed staff that he had  hired a trucking company to haul wastewater from the facility's holding pond. However, staff learned the discharger had not made arrangements for proper disposal of the wastewater. Moreover, the discharger indicated that he did not know where the trucking  company was disposing of the wastewater. Trucking invoices indicate that 77 truckloads of wastewater were removed from the facility's holding pond between February 25, 2000, and March 24, 2000. Staff instructed the discharger to make arrangements with the City of Petaluma's Waste Water Treatment Plant for disposal of the facility wastewater, and to find out and report to staff where the trucking company had disposed of the facility wastewater. The discharger reported that the wastewater had been discharged into an agricultural wastewater holding pond. Based on photographs submitted by the discharger, the pond appeared to be adequately containing the wastewater with sufficient freeboard to minimize the possibility of the pond overflowing.

8.   The San Francisco Bay Basin Water Quality Control Plan (Basin Plan) defines the existing and potential beneficial uses for San Francisco Bay and contiguous surface waters. The existing and potential beneficial uses for Petaluma River include: cold freshwater habitat; marine habitat; warm freshwater habitat; wildlife habitat; fish migration; fish spawning; preservation of rare and endangered species; navigation and contact and noncontact water recreation. The Basin Plan also identifies the Petaluma Valley Groundwater Basin as a significant groundwater resource. Groundwater in the vicinity of the facility is utilized for domestic, agricultural and industrial water supply and is also likely to contribute to the streamflow of Marin Creek.

9.   The analysis of discharges to Marin Creek and the pasture indicate that the facility's wastewater and polluted stormwater runoff are deleterious to aquatic life, and, as such, have the potential to impact the designated beneficial uses of Marin Creek and the Petaluma River. Discharges to the pasture have been at rates exceeding the disposal field's assimilative capacity and have not been managed in a manner protective of groundwater resources. Additionally, the facility uses large quantities of pesticides, including diazinon, mertect, and pounce to disinfect the mushroom growing rooms and  trays. The wastewater from these disinfection activities is apparently discharged to the wastewater holding pond and therefore, may have been released to the environment during illicit discharge events.

10. Based on the above findings, the Board finds that the discharger has caused or permitted materials to be discharged or deposited where they can be and have been discharged into waters of the State, and created and threatens to continue to create a condition of pollution. The discharged materials have resulted in unnecessary and avoidable adverse impacts, in violation of the Basin Plan, California Water Code, and federal Clean Water Act.

11. This Order is an action to enforce the California Water Code and as such is exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act, pursuant to Section 15321(a)(2) of Title 14, California Code of Regulations.

12. Pursuant to Section 13304 of the California Water Code, the discharger is hereby notified that the Board is entitled to, and may seek reimbursement for, all reasonable costs actually incurred by the Board to investigate unauthorized discharge of waste and to oversee cleanup of such waste, abatement of the effect thereof, or other remedial action, required by this Order.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, pursuant to Section 13304, of Division 7 of the California Water Code, that the discharger shall cleanup the waste discharged, abate the effect of the discharge, and take other remedial actions as follows:

A.        Prohibitions

1. The discharge of fill, waste, wastewater, washwater, stormwater runoff that has contacted industrial areas, pesticides, or other toxic or deleterious materials that will degrade, or threaten to degrade water quality or adversely affect, or threaten to affect beneficial uses of the waters of the State is prohibited.

2. The discharge of wastewater, washwater, polluted stormwater runoff, or other material to an approved disposal field at rates that are not commensurate with the assimilative capacity of that disposal field, or in a manner that is not protective of groundwater resources is prohibited.

3. The discharge of wastewater, washwater, stormwater runoff that has contacted industrial areas, or any other deleterious materials to the pasture, which has previously been used for wastewater disposal and is located immediately to the north of the Petaluma Mushroom Farm facility, without written authorization from the Board Executive Officer, is henceforth prohibited.

4. Operation of the facility's on-site sewage treatment and disposal system in a manner inconsistent with, or in violation of, Sonoma County PRMD permit conditions, or which adversely affects or threatens to adversely affect surface or groundwater quality is prohibited.

B.        Provisions and Remedial Measures

1. No later than November 20, 2000, the discharger shall submit a revised Wastewater Management Plan for the facility, acceptable to the Board Executive Officer. Due to the limited size of the on-site wastewater holding pond and the large volume of polluted stormwater runoff that must be contained at the site, the facility does not have sufficient I storage capacity to get through extended wet periods without releasing wastewater from the pond. The periods during which the facility will need to discharge wastewater, will coincide with periods when soil and weather conditions would prohibit discharges to disposal fields. Therefore, discharge of wastewater to disposal fields as a primary wastewater disposal method is not acceptable during the wet season (October 15 through May 1). The revised Wastewater Management Plan shall include an alternative wet season wastewater disposal strategy that does not rely primarily on discharging to disposal fields.

2. No later than November 20, 2000, the discharger shall submit a technical report * acceptable to the Board Executive Officer describing all pesticide use (including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides) at the facility between January 1, 1998, and November 1, 2000. At a minimum, the report shall include copies of all California Department of Pesticide Regulation Monthly Pesticide Use Reports, and descriptions of the intended purpose of each pesticide application, how the material is applied and handled, and how any residual and waste products are contained and disposed (such as in the wastewater holding pond or other means). The report shall also address any other toxic materials used at the facility that may be intentionally or inadvertently discharged into the wastewater holding pond or which could be accidentally released to the environment. The report shall include a plan and schedule for implementing appropriate changes to residual and waste product handling and disposal.

3. No later than December 11, 2000, the discharger shall submit a workplan proposal  acceptable to the Board Executive Officer for investigating the presence and extent of any soil and groundwater pollution resulting from the over-application of wastewater on the facility's previously permitted disposal field (pasture). The workplan shall be developed by an appropriate certified professional, shall provide detailed methodologies and specifications for characterizing the hydrogeologic conditions beneath and in the vicinity of the facility, and shall evaluate and characterize the presence of pollutants in the soil and groundwater beneath and down gradient of the disposal field and wastewater holding pond, including the Marin Creek channel. The hydrogeologic investigation shall be consistent with federal EPA guidelines (refer to: EPA Seminar Publication: Site Characterization for Subsurface Remediation, EPA/625/4-91/026 November 1991; and EPA Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response RCRA Ground-Water Monitoring Technical Enforcement Guidance Document, OSWER-9950.1, September 1986). Soil and groundwater samples shall be analyzed by a State certified analytical laboratory for applicable nutrients, pesticides and any other pollutants that may have been present in the facility's wastewater.

4. No later than March 1, 2001, the discharger shall submit the results of the soil and groundwater pollution investigation specified in Provision 3 above.

5. No later than March 1, 2001, if the results of the soil and groundwater pollution investigation specified above indicate that soils or groundwater in the vicinity of the facility have been polluted by Petaluma Mushroom Farm operations, the discharger shall submit a Remedial Action Plan acceptable to the Executive Officer that is consistent with federal EPA guidelines and Board policy.

6. If the discharger is delayed, interrupted or prevented from meeting one or more of the completion dates specified in this Order, the discharger shall promptly notify the Board Executive Officer in writing with recommended revised completion dates. The Board Executive Officer may consider revisions to this Order.

7. As described in Finding 12 above, upon receipt of a billing statement for costs incurred pursuant to Section 13304 of the California Water Code, the discharger shall reimburse the Board.

Pursuant to California Water Code Sections 13304 and 13350, if the discharger fails to comply with the provisions of this Order, the Board may schedule a hearing to consider assessing civil       monetary penalties up to $5,000 per day of violation of this Order, and to consider requesting the Attorney General to take appropriate enforcement action against the discharger, including injunctive and civil monetary remedies. Additionally, issuance of CAO No. 00-105 does not preclude the Board from imposing monetary civil liability, as appropriate, for the unauthorized discharges leading to the issuance of this CAO.

Loretta K. Barsamian Date Executive Officer

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