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Click on the cover above to download Heal the Ocean's 2015 Newsletter or click here.

Heal the Ocean's Featured Research

Waste(d)water Infographic: A New Water Resource for the Santa Barbara Region
Water Reclamation Research
HTO Pocket Guide
California Ocean Wastewater Discharge Inventory
WDI Google Fly To Map and Resources
IRWMP Planning Grant Application for Wastewater Recycling Submitted eptember 2010, answer expected from State by January 2011!
Read the future of Water in Santa Barbara! HTO's Synopsis of the City of Santa Barbara 2009 Water Supply Planning Study
Cost of Tertiary Wastewater Treatment for Santa Barbara (2001)

Featured Video

Another Day at the Beach?


The Latest

POSTED ON July 09th, 2015



















This new white paper by Heal the Ocean shows the promise of potable reuse as a significant supply of safe, affordable, and environmentally sustainable water for California.

Heal the Ocean and other organizations have called for expanded recycled water use both locally and statewide to combat the drought in California. This paper examines the most advanced form of water recycling available to date – potable reuse – and its benefits as compared to alternative water supplies. This is a well researched primer on all facets of indirect potable reuse – including the technologies employed, studies on the safety water produced in these projects, its cost and energy use, and successful projects in California.

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POSTED ON May 29th, 2015

On Sunday, May 31st, at 1:00 p.m., Heal the Ocean and our Executive Director Hillary Hauser will be at the Stand in the Sand rally, joining others who will walk down State Street and join hands at the ocean's edge to signal to the oil industry, Enough, already.

We hope you will join us in delivering the message that Big Oil cannot take one more beach, one more piece of ocean, nor can it continue to cause this kind of environmental mayhem. We must come together and push, hard, for the clean energy future that the world requires.

After the rally, join Hillary in looking for new, greener transportation (Hillary says she's ready for a gasless car, and may even take up bicycling again at the ripe old age of 70). And for certain she, and we, are taking a stand in the sand with everyone who works for the ocean.

Thank you!

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POSTED ON April 16th, 2015

Drought hits hard, HTO hits harder

With unprecedented dry conditions across the state, the Governor has ordered the first ever statewide mandatory water rationing of 25%, and with no rain or snow on the horizon, Heal the Ocean continues to push on our biggest issue: the reclamation of waste(d)water supplies for use in the state's parched urban centers.

In our last E-letter we reported that HTO has been working with RMC Water, Los Angeles, on a study paid for by HTO to add specifics on the feasibility of upgrading and expanding the City's recycled water plant. That study proposal has turned out to be a template by which HTO is meeting with all Sanitary and Water districts on the Santa Barbara South Coast to work with them to productively convert waste(d)water to good-quality water to use. It is our dream that all wastewater pipes are turned around from the ocean – to Heal the Ocean this mission is even larger than the Rincon septic-to-sewer project, which took us 15 years to complete.

Here is a progress report on our Waste(d)water Campaign:

  • Carpinteria Sanitary District and Carpinteria Valley Water District are in the middle of a Facilities Upgrade Plan for the CSD Wastewater Treatment Plant - and one of their options for a redesign of the plant is for a full upgrade to highly treated recycled water, for groundwater injection;
  • Montecito Sanitary District and Montecito Water District has agreed (week of April 11, 2015)  to participate in a Dudek study of the Montecito groundwater basin, a study organized and commissioned by HTO. The purpose of the study is to see if groundwater injection is possible, with highly treated recycled water from the MSD plant. HTO is paying for a third of this study, our share generously supplied by HTO Board Member Thomas Dabney;
  • HTO has met with Goleta Sanitary District, the Goleta West Sanitary District and the Goleta Water District, to facilitate a meeting of the minds about upgrade to highly treated recycled water for use in the Goleta Valley, with possible groundwater injection as part of the scenario;
  • The largest part of HTO’s study with RMC Water is centered on the City of Santa Barbara Recycled Water Plant. Scheduled to be operational later this year, the newly reconstructed plant incorporates Microfiltration, and the volume of recycled water produced is .8 mgd. HTO’s study is focused on cost feasibility of expanding the plant to produce highly treated “gold standard” recycled water. As part of its Regional Water Quality Control Board permit for its Desal Plant, the City is conducting a study with Carollo Engineers to explore alternate water supplies. HTO is coordinating with the City public works, to make sure their study includes everything we want to see in it. And the pieces that are not there, we’ll leave in our RMC study!

To see how good recycled water can be, watch this 90 second video from CBS "60 minutes" (click picture below):

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Heal the Ocean Platform


Heal the Ocean works to get wastewater treatment plants up to higher treatment levels (i.e. our 2002 win to have the Goleta Sanitary District upgrade to full secondary treatment). As a way of keeping wastewater out of the ocean, HTO is now involved in finding funds for sanitary districts to join with water districts to produce recycled wastewater totally cleaned of CECs (contaminants of emerging concern), suitable for irrigation and other uses. This program ties in with California’s dire need of water in a worsening draught.

Heal The Ocean's Research in This Area


Septic systems operate on the principle of leaching, and they must be removed from inappropriate beach and creek areas. “Cluster overuse” must be dealt with by sewer hookup. HTO facilitates homeowner associations to hook up to sewer, i.e., our recent successful campaign for the “South Coast Beach Communities Septic to Sewer Project,” wherein 7 miles of beaches will be cleared of septic systems.

Heal The Ocean's Research in This Area


(e.g. stormwater and groundwater). HTO has worked to toughen storm water permits for Santa Barbara County and every city in Santa Barbara County, has worked with USGS and the City of Santa Barbara on a three-year groundwater study. We lobby for increased street sweeping and enforcement for illegal dumping into creeks and drains.

Heal The Ocean's Research in This Area


Dredge and fill operations in the name of “restoring beaches” will not be performed unless materials are suitable, and clean for beaches, and plans do not cause smothering of near-shore sea life.


We are taking an active role in the issue of pollutants leaching into the sea and into groundwater from unlined landfills. HTO research now includes the examination of data from monitoring wells in Santa Barbara’s waterfront area for both old landfill sites and unresolved LUST (leaking underground storage tank) sites.

Heal The Ocean's Research in This Area