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Sonoma County Gazette
Monte Rio Musings by Chuck Ramsey

Of Waste Water, Natural Disasters
and Electric Vehicles...

Sep 27, 2017
by Chuck Ramsey


TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) wastewater solutions public workshop was held 9/20/17. The event was well attended with strong citizen participation. All parcels within 600 feet of a waterway will be monitored and required to meet minimum standards. Implementation is expected to begin in Fall 2018. The process will include questionnaires to  determine what type of OWTS (Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems) currently exist. Parcels with cesspools or redwood boxes will need to be
upgraded and will receive highest priority. If your property does not have sufficient land for a leach field you will be required to upgrade to a more expensive tertiary treatment system. All septic tanks will be inspected every five years. There should be grants available to help with the upgrades. Long-term this will be good for our community.

Natural disasters have been non-stop this year with hurricanes and earthquakes. Locally we also experience fires and floods. The best defense we have is being prepared. Russian River Fire Protection District started a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). In emergencies or disasters these trained citizen volunteers first help themselves, their families, and their neighbors until first responders are able to arrive. They can also support first responders upon arrival. For more information on becoming a CERT volunteer email

Sonoma Clean Power’s EV (Electric Vehicle) promotion is off the charts. This promotion ends 10/31 unless funds run out sooner. Due to the incredible rebates many people, including myself, have made the jump to electric. The biggest concern of most is “range anxiety”. What if your battery runs out while you are on the road?

VW e-GolfThe second biggest concern may be the fast learning curve needed to switch over. It can be looked at as either overwhelming or fun. The industry is not a startup, but then again it isn’t mature either. Yes, you can wait until there are more charging stations, longer battery ranges, etc, but most likely you will pay much more as current rebates and tax credits expire. As of September 15th the VW e-Golf just went from an 85-mile range to a 125-mile range. For me that made the difference. There are cars such as the Chevy Bolt that have a 240-mile range. Although the cars come with a standard 110 volt charging cord, you will most likely need to install a 220 volt charging station at home to charge faster. Sonoma Clean Power throws this in with you only paying for tax and shipping (saving you hundreds).

As for charging stations on the road, there are more than you think already. Guerneville has about five. There are apps that show you where charging stations are located along your route. There are different types of charging stations including “DC FastCharge” which can charge most cars in about half an hour. Many are free as businesses provide this as a service to their employees or to customers. If you are charging your car, you will probably be eating or shopping while you wait. Our closest DC FastCharge station is located at Whole Foods in Coddingtown. In Monte Rio, our Recreation and Park District is looking into obtaining charging stations at two of its properties, so yes, we too, will be on the map soon.

Another surprise for me was the cost of electricity. If you charge at off-peak hours, your cost of fuel per mile is much less than half (and possible only one-quarter) of gasoline. It’s like filling up at a gas station where the price per gallon is $1.00. Maintenance is also less on EVs.

Another reason to go green? EVs are fun to drive! Quiet, immediate fast pick-up, and while not necessarily only related to EVs, technology has come a long way recently to save you money and improve safety. Think self-braking and self-parking cars! The final factor is HOV lanes! While green hybrid car decals will expire on 1/1/19, white EV decals will continue to have HOV lane access. Make the move. Go to for more info.

LOCAL Live Theater It has been a long time since I saw a play at our Russian River Hall, formerly Pegasus Theater. Years ago I saw Arthur Miller’s All My Sons. It was riveting and left the audience speechless and unable to move at the end. I still remember that night with the cold winter fog, the silence, and our little playhouse. Last month I noticed friends and neighbors raving about The Elephant Man on Nextdoor and decided to go see it. Once again, the astonishment was back. What fantastic acting. What a well done and moving production. Where else can you see local people you know performing at this level? Michael Tabib and the cast of Curtain Call Theater continue to make us all proud.

Vacation Wonderland. We just keep getting better.


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