A Tuesday editorial examines the emerging controversy over sewer and water rates in Petaluma. A petition filed on Friday may force a citywide referendum on higher rates approved by the City Council in January.

What to do? The solution is simple, and we’re surprised the City Council didn’t think of it. Rates don’t need to be higher if the city doesn’t mind relying on an antiquated sewage treatment plant discharging its leftovers into the Petaluma River. Sure, city residents will have to pay fines, cope with the pangs of conscience associated with being gross polluters and risk federal sanctions. But rates will be lower, at least for a little while.

And, hey, what’s a little pollution among friends?

– Pete Golis