Los Osos sewer dispute not over?

March 27, 2011

Bruce Gibson

A divisive, 30-year dispute over a new sewer for Los Osos and the financial cost to residents may soon be a San Luis Obispo County issue if federal funding falls through leaving county residents partially on the hook for funding the more than $200 million project.

A new report by KCCN.tv, “The $cent of Money,” examines myriad financial and emotional challenges facing Los Osos residents as a result of this pricey public works plan. On March 14, San Luis Obispo County supervisors voted unanimously to build a gravity-flow in Los Osos and to place the burden of the proposal on the backs of county taxpayers if anticipated state and federal grants and loans fail to materialize.

Federal officials have warned local governments it is likely Congress will decide not to distribute already approved grants especially for items such as waste water treatment plants.

At numerous San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisor meetings, residents have questioned if the county’s choice of sewer design is the best and the cheapest, the most environmentally-sound. The area’s supervisor, Bruce Gibson, thinks so. The former planning commissioner is an unabashed advocate of the concrete pipe gravity sewer.

Critics of the approved plan have been spurned, even openly criticized, by supervisors who turn a blind eye to more-than-apparent conflicts of interest among county employees, private developers and their consultants, according to KCCN.tv.



  1. Maxfusion says:

    OK, once again. As I stated in 1992, while residing in Los Osos, “there will never be a sewer system”.
    This is a scam driven by bureaucrats, enviro-nut cases, and opportunists. How much spent so far and
    what to show for it? Nothing, nada, zero, zip. and you want to know why? You don’t need one. The area is perfectly suited for properly maintained septic. It’s a frigggin sandhill, the most desirable place for septic. How many out of town folks have you made rich? How many of those folks bought houses in other places
    with YOUR money. You’ve been screwed.

    (-1) 23 Total Votes - 11 up - 12 down
    • justme says:

      Our drinking water runs thru the sandhill too. And the ocean wants to run thru it also. Who knows what the truth is? The people we MUST listen to (geologists, etc.) are also the people who gain from a sewer install.
      Someday we’ll get state water, a bigass sewer and our grankids will be mowing the lawns of the Chinese and Indians who will live here.

      (0) 16 Total Votes - 8 up - 8 down
  2. Jack L says:

    Good or bad, right or wrong, one thing for sure……..The longer it takes to build, the more it will cost.

    (11) 19 Total Votes - 15 up - 4 down
    • Metatron says:

      That’s a poor rationale for building the wrong sewer, Jack. The project should be stopped and a cheaper alternative — a promise broken by the Gibson — built instead of the most expensive. If it takes longer and costs more to build a sewer that inevitably forces 50% of the community to sell their homes (if they can) and move, then what’s your point, Jack? Stupid is as stupid does? Shame on you for spamming ignorance.

      (-4) 26 Total Votes - 11 up - 15 down
  3. jimmy_me says:

    I don’t have kids; I’ve never called the fire or police department. Using the corrupt SLO county logic applied to the rich folk in Los Osos, I shouldn’t be paying for schools, police, or fire protection. Why am I? Why can’t I install composting toilets? I would then not be polluting the water and then should not be included in paying for a sewer. What am I missing? Why is this project being shoved down our throats in the middle of worst economic times since the depression? This amounts to social and economic genocide in Los Osos. Very bad, very corrupt, very stupid government.

    (1) 21 Total Votes - 11 up - 10 down
    • easymoney says:

      Simple really, the politically appointed SRWQB…
      They have trown down the mandate and the county has picked it up and they will pass on all costs to the taxpayers. As it stands in SLO county if you are building in the unincoporated areas and you are planning on putting a septic system, it will be going through the state RWQB not county planning directly. The county has had it’s MOU pulled for lack of a maintenace plan, which they were told to do decades ago and haven’t.
      One thing is for sure and for certain, once the fighting is over in Los Osos, the RWQB will be focusing on all who have septic systems. There are already mandates for new vs retro fit systems and if a system is to be retro fitted it will have to be engineered and approved by the state. Why you ask, because they claim we are ploutting our blue line water courses.
      Sidebar: In Santa Margarita, there are man made drainage ditches and culverts along every street and in front of every home and guess what, the state has declared them all blue line water courses.

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down
  4. MahKinaPacal says:

    Mr. Blackburn. I regret to inform you that a documentary about insatiable greed and corruption, deception and bait & switching, that has wrecked a small coastal community has already been aired on national television. Specifically on July 7 2010. What should concern you is the name of the documentary. Kindly rename your Documentary as soon as possible, or I will be compelled to contact the Blog Authorities to put you under investigation.
    Respectfully yours, Patrick Star Esq.
    Entered this day March 27 ’11 on behalf of Client N. Channel, and the residents of B. B.

    (-4) 12 Total Votes - 4 up - 8 down
    • RU4Real says:

      OH PUH-LEEZ Patrick! wHO DO you THINK you are? You are NO JAMES MCKIERNAN, THAT’S for sure! HA!

      (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
    • mbactivist1 says:

      Mr. Star, If you are for real, please provide more details about your client’s documentary – like the name of the town, and where we can read more about the story of the problems referred to in your email. If your client’s documentary has been on TV, then that information is obviously not secret.

      Hiding the name of the client and the city makes your post appear very suspicious to some locals and (no offense to the graphics designer, if legitimate) the graphic you link to could have easily been mocked up in a couple of minutes by pretty much anyone with the right software.

      Some of our local crooks will use any kind of scam to stop work like Dan’s from being shared, and I can think of a few who would come up with the idea of pretending that there is a naming conflict in order to try to get Dan to change the name – with the obvious intention of causing problems for people sharing the link to Dan’s documentary. For example, the link has already been sent to the office of the State Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Governor – people the crooks do NOT want reading that story.

      (3) 11 Total Votes - 7 up - 4 down
    • TheRazor says:

      Don’t worry. It’s a satirical reference to the show, Spongebob Squarepants, on Nickalodeon. It’s fitting, given that some of the angry, anonymous comments are very “cartoony.”

      (4) 10 Total Votes - 7 up - 3 down
      • mbactivist1 says:

        Thanks, Razor. I guess I am somewhat out of date when it comes to kiddie cartoons. I have heard of Spongebob, but never seen it.

        I agree that the nasty comments are “cartoony”. Some of the people who thought they were going to get rich at the expense of the elderly and low-income residents of Los Osos are obviously starting to get a little nervous.

        (-1) 5 Total Votes - 2 up - 3 down
  5. mrcyberdoc says:

    Wow look at all the responses to the continuing Los Osos sewer saga. And to think we would have had a sewer up and running had a handful of people not hijacked Los Osos. I’m sill waiting for the other foot to drop! When and how are we going to pay for the lawsuits and fines by the WQCB? Or who will pay for the desal plant we’ll need when our ground water dries up because so much of the effluent in the new system will not make it back into our aquafer?

    (3) 23 Total Votes - 13 up - 10 down
  6. Metatron says:

    Wow. Great video, Dan! You should feel honored. You’ve drawn the county’s top paid Los Osos sewer lobbyist here (head of thuggish Taxpayers Watch, husband a Cal Poly bully) to spam this site under multiple identities of “Mythbuster,” “Paperboys” and “SewerHeightsRez.” The county will stop at absolutely NOTHING to crush dissent. They DO NOT want your video out there! But it is out there … the corruption, the truth… traveling the Internet … far and wide.

    And they can’t do a thing about it! It’s Spring and the air is filled with “The $cent of Money” (otherwise known as Bruce Gibson’s after shave lotion).

    The County may have won the war, but they’ve lost of battle of Los Osos.

    (-6) 26 Total Votes - 10 up - 16 down
  7. Paperboys says:

    It is disingenuous to say the County is responsible for killing the STEP/STEG system.
    Los Osos property owners did that.
    The problem is that with STEP/STEG you still have a septic tank. The water board said if they did that system, it wanted a septic tank maintenance district set up to ensure the tanks are working properly. That means regular pumping and inspections.
    Property owners would have had to sign an agreement with the County or CSD (whoever runs the system) to allow inspectors to enter their property and do their inspections. And if a septic tank were found to be leaking it would have to be replaced.
    Naturally, the property owner would pay for this.
    Essentially, everyone would have two sewer systems, their septic tank and the collection system and waste water treatment plant as well. A majority of Los Osos property owners decided that they wanted just one sewer system, and voted to go with the gravity fed system that would collect solids as well as waste water and retire their septic tanks once and for all.
    The video is also flawed in saying that the gravity fed collection system would use concrete pipes. Modern sewers are build with plastic pipe. Manholes and lift stations are still concrete but the pipes are plastic.
    Blackburn’s video is really something. I’m surprised that Gibson took part in it. I bet he regrets that decision now.
    IMO the first mistake was made early in the 20th Century, when the county let Los Osos be subdivided and begin being built out without making the developers put in a sewer system. That would never happen now, but they let it go forward and it’s the root of all this evil and it most definitely IS the county’s fault.
    But, everything that’s happened from 1983 to now is really the fault of the people in Los Osos. In their desire to find a cheaper and more environmentally friendly system, they have delayed the project for decades and the costs have steadily risen.
    Face it, $25,000 is about what a new car costs these days. And if people qualify, they should see about a reverse mortgage. I would urge anyone to beg, borrow or steal the $25,000 and pay the assessment up front, and remember, once a sewer system is in place, the value of your property is bound to go up considerably.

    (9) 27 Total Votes - 18 up - 9 down
    • RU4Real says:

      Paperboys, At least you have acknowledged some FAULT ON THE PART OF THE COUNTY! It’s about time you woke up to THAT fact. Further, FYI, what happened in 1983 WAS ALSO THE FAULT OF THE COUNTY. Yes! SLO County allowed over 1,000 homes to be built in the so called PZ, all with fully permitted & approved septic systems…Clearly, THAT is NOT the fault of the people, ONLY greedy SLO County . The COUNTY IS AT FAULT for NOT doing the right thing by Los Osos & getting the infrastructure in place prior to all the development. SLO County was sure as hell collecting taxes all those years…Just how did they USE that money & the “developers fees”??? You’ve got answers for EVERYTHING ELSE, how about an answer to THAT???

      (-2) 20 Total Votes - 9 up - 11 down
    • justme says:

      Plastic pipe will still be subject to exagerrated liquifaction in the disturbed dune sand. The seams aren’t meant to do much except seal liquid. They’re just rubber gasketed and “jam fitted” together.
      Sand can’t be compacted, you basically wet it and forget it. Overhead weight will bear down hard on top of the pipes as sand won’t provide any structure as you can get with compacted clay.

      Don’t “fault” Los osans for seeking low cost alternatives, people in the PZ probably get more SS and disability cks than just about any other form of income. Sorry Osos, love to all. So don’t expect many peeps coughing up 25 large. The only people who could afford that have kinda cake have been selected by one of their own early on to not be liable for it because they have larger houses and lots, which means more baths and h20 usage, bizarre. Equity for a reverse mortgage? That’s called giving your house to the banksters rather than your kids so you can flush your crapper, c’mon now. Jeez, does anybodyn see any problem at all?

      (-2) 18 Total Votes - 8 up - 10 down
    • Alon_Perlman says:

      Well wrote but people should research if the borrowing option for upfront payment is economical. The assessment would pay the sewer off in 40 (?) years at a rate of well under 4 percent per annum. A lower rate may apply and is in negotiations by the county. Do make sure that you can access (Beg Borrow or pay attention to special programs offered) between 5 and 10 thousand dollars in time for hooking up (on lot costs). You may be able to save monies by planning ahead and contacting the county to find your actual (Predicted) hook up date. If you are able to, you can do some work yourself and can negotiate with a local contractor. You have some control as to how the lateral passes through your yard, so plan ahead.
      Contact the County. Though the CSD does not have the project, some citizens who have asked, have received excellent advice from the LOCSD front office. Additionally plan to further reduce your indoor and outdoor water usage. Your Sewer Usage component of the bill will be tied in to water consumption during winter.
      The exception to paying upfront with borrowed monies, is if you plan to sell your house, you may get a better price or faster sell if you can state that the assessement is prepaid. check with a professional.

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down

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