Reflections

From the Redwood Record of Feb. 7, 1980

County and state officials met with some 20 Southern Humboldt residents interested in the future of the embroiled Phillipsville Water Company and together with officials and private citizens mapped-out the beginnings to a plan for resolving the private water company’s troubles with the government.

The meeting was called by the Humboldt County Health Department in response to a petition presented to the county board of supervisors signed by a number of the Phillipsville water work’s more than 60 customers. The petition requested that the small water company not be forced to chlorinate their water.

The county health department had suggested Phillipsville chlorinate its water after it was determined that the water served by the company did not meet health department standards regarding coliform content. Coliform is the measurement of bacteria from the intestinal waste of animals present in water.

Alternatives that were available to the water company for upgrading the quality of water in Phillipsville without chlorination were presented to meeting attendants. They included disinfecting by ultra-violet lights, utilizing horizontal wells at the spring that was in use at the time and perhaps adding an additional well.

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The road between Redway and Dean Creek, closed since the middle of the previous January when heavy rains caused an unstable section of the thoroughfare to slip out, was set to reopen.

The roadway moved downhill several feet at the location of the slip-out just north of Redway and had to be pushed back into place by heavy equipment.

State crews were called in to remove downed redwoods from near the road before work on reinstating the road was undertaken by the county.

The county public works department said the repair of the road at that point would never be permanent due to instability of the geological make-up of the surroundings.

Two years prior the same approximately 100-foot section of Redwood Drive washed out for the first time. Steady rainfall caused the earth to slide at the gulch there, taking out the road. A number of old-growth redwoods on both sides of the two-lane road were also leveled as the earth moved downhill.

At that time the roadway remained closed to traffic for an extended period before the washed-out stretch was patched up by county road crew. At that time the slide area was resurfaced as a one-lane road.

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The state Water Quality Control Board (WQCB) ordered their staff to sign an agreement with the Redway Community Services District fining them $2,000 for their 189,000 gallon sewage spill into the South Fork Eel River near Redway the previous summer.

The WCQB was empowered by the state to charge districts in sewage spills and the Redway district faced fines of up to $50,000 for the five days of overflows in July.

The fine represented a cost to the district of slightly more than one penny for each gallon of raw sewage leaked into the river.

The WQCB had determined that negligence in the form of lack of proper maintenance had caused the spillage into the river from the district plant’s lift station.

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