The Santa Clara Valley Water District admitted Wednesday that over the last 11 years, there have been eight separate reported leaks of hydraulic fluid at several of its reservoir intake valves.
The district is under investigation by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office for violating state water-pollution laws, and could face fines of up to $25,000 in connection with a January 20-gallon spill at Coyote Reservoir.
In a memo sent Wednesday, CEO Beau Goldie stated: ” On Jan. 12, 2012, the California Fish and Game submitted a formal complaint to the Santa Clara County District Attorney. We have met with the District Attorney’s Office to discuss the matter and work toward a mutually satisfactory resolution to the issue.”
The water district said the leaks are minimal, and posed no environmental threat.
Agency spokesman, Marty Grimes, told NBC Bay Area, “We’ve not seen any environmental impact from this, which is good. And we don’t have any questions about our water quality as a result.”
But Roger Castillo, a water district critic and founder of the San Jose-based Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Group said, “If the leaks are occurring right now during the rearing season when the offspring are coming out of the egg, they’re very susceptible to the smallest amount of pollution, especially oils.”
The Mercury News reported that district records show that since 2001, there have been eight hydraulic oil spills, ranging from five gallons to 35 gallons at six of the 10 reservoirs it operates.
The water district is the primary source of drinking water to people in Santa Clara County, serving 1.8 million people.