Oceano’s flooding debate continues
May 3, 2011
San Luis Obispo County Public Works officials discussed the history of Oceano’s flooding problems and possible solutions before a turnout of about 50 people, many state and local government employees, at a public meeting on Saturday.
Members of the public contend the flooding of homes in Oceano is chronic and the county is doing nothing about it.
In 2003, the county paid for a study that provided several solutions. Nevertheless, the county failed to implement any of the suggestions and in December several dozen homes in the flood prone area around the lagoon were inundated with water and sewage.
During the December storm, water flowed through electrical conduits at the San Luis Obispo South County Sanitation District into pump motors which shorted out the plant’s electrical system, shutting down the plant’s intake pumps. Early reports said 3 million gallons of raw sewage had spilled into the community.
Oceano resident Joe Schacherer said that even in homes that did not flood the stench of sewage was pervasive. He also noted that many residents had sewage spewing up through their toilets and bathtubs.
Public Works Director Paavo Ogren spoke for almost an hour at Saturday’s meeting about the Arroyo Grande creek channel and the lagoon system. He referenced cleaning out overgrowth to enhance capacity of heavy flows. On May 24, Ogren is slated to present a plan to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and then ask the board for funding to implement solutions.
Residents of the neighborhoods that flooded say they have their own ideas such as using the airport for drainage and having Arroyo Grande Creek flow directly into the ocean.