California Regional Water Quality Control Board San Francisco Bay Region
TO: File 2342.04(WBH)

FROM: William B. Hurley,  North Bay and Delta Section
 Watershed Management Division

DATE: December 21, 2001

   782 Thompson Lane,  Petaluma,  Sonoma County

November 13, 2001, Inspection Findings
On November 13, 2001, Carmen Fewless and William Hurley of staff inspected the Petaluma Mushroom Farm facility (facility) located at 782 Thompson Lane, Petaluma.

Staff observed several areas around the perimeter of the facility where compost and other waste materials were not being adequately contained and/or handled.  These materials were observed to be sloughing over containment berms and through openings in the perimeter wall.  Photographs of these areas are attached to this inspection report.

Staff also learned that the facility was hauling wastewater to a wastewater holding pond at a nearby dairy without authorization.  Staff instructed a facility manager, Mr. Duncan Soldner, to cease discharging wastewater from the facility to the dairy wastewater holding pond.  Staff informed Mr. Soldner that the City of Petaluma’s wastewater treatment plant was the only off-site location to which the facility was authorized to haul/discharge wastewater.

December 7, 2001, Inspection Findings
Regional Board staff (Ms. Fewless & Mr. Hurley) performed a follow-up inspection of the facility on December 7, 2001, to: 1) evaluate corrective action improvements to the facility’s perimeter waste containment structures, 2) investigate reports that facility wastewater was still being hauled to the dairy wastewater holding pond without authorization, and 3) respond to complaints from nearby residents who were concerned that the facility had discharged wastewater during wet weather conditions to the facility’s disposal field located on the western side of Thompson Lane on or about December 3rd or 4th.

Staff observed that construction was almost completed of a larger perimeter wall designed to better contain compost and solid and liquid wastes, as directed by staff during the November 13 inspection. The waste containment structural improvements appeared satisfactory, and should provide effective waste containment around the facility’s perimeter.

Facility managers confirmed that wet weather spraying did occur on the evening of December 3rd and early morning of December 4th, and reported it as a single event-accidental discharge, resulting from an operator error. Analytical results of  water quality samples collected by staff on December 7th, taken from a tributary down stream of where the wet weather spraying took place, did not indicate a water quality problem in the tributary at the time of the sampling (although this was three days after the discharge was terminated).  The facility is only authorized to spray irrigate wastewater to disposal fields at rates which are reasonable for the soil, climate, crop, management system and any special local situations.  Accordingly, spray irrigating during saturated soil conditions or rainfall events is not authorized.  Staff instructed the discharger to cease all discharges to this disposal field.

During this inspection, Mr. David Cerini (owner/operator) confirmed that the facility was still hauling wastewater to the dairy wastewater holding pond.  Mr. Cerini appeared to understand that he did not have authorization to discharge to the dairy, but indicated that he was continuing to discharge there because he felt that discharging to the City’s treatment plant was cost prohibitive.  It is staff’s understanding that some facility wastewater had also been hauled to the City’s wastewater treatment plant during the period between November 13th and December 7th, although it appears that a larger volume of wastewater may have been hauled and discharged to the dairy holding pond during this period.  It will be necessary for staff to obtain and review the facility’s hauling and disposal fee invoices to accurately determine the volumes and locations of facility wastewater disposed off-site.

Staff Recommendation
Amendment of Cleanup and Abatement Order No. 00-105 to require submittal of copies of all off-site hauling and disposal fee invoices, impose more rigorous controls on the facility’s wastewater management system, and expand the facility’s current Monitoring Program.

Attachment: Photographs taken during the November 13, 2001, staff inspection

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