Developers may pay for Pismo Beach to recycle water

December 14, 2015

water moneyThe Pismo Beach City Council is considering turning to developers to cover the costs of a $29.7 million water recycling project. [Tribune]

On Tuesday, the City Council will vote on whether to charge a fee on new development and redevelopment that would fund the project. The city would charge the fee on a one-time basis, and the amount would depend on the type of project and the water demand.

Staff projections indicate the city could collect up to $16.3 million from the fee. Pismo Beach officials are attempting to partner with other South County agencies on the water reclamation project in order to share the costs.

The city is currently planning to update its sewage treatment plant so that it would have a higher tertiary level of filtration and disinfection. Effluent could then be injected into the Santa Maria groundwater basin, from which much of the South County obtains at least a portion of its drinking water.

The project could recycle up to 950 acre-feet of water per year.

Pismo Beach officials are asking the cities of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach, as well as the community of Oceano, to participate in the project. If each agency agrees to join the project, Pismo Beach would only be allowed to collect up to $5.3 million from the fee.

If the Pismo Beach council approves the fee, it will go into effect on Feb. 13, 2016.

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So lets get this straight, for years the city just let developers write their own ticket while the drought got worse and worse. The city turned a blind eye and let the developers slide on paying their fair share. Now that the city finally started talking about a moratorium, something they should have done years ago and since the developers told the city they had built enough for now, the city now says they are going to get tough and make developer start paying. One has to ask, with a moratorium in place and since new developments will be few and far between likely who really will be paying, the residents. Nice job city.

We have a “water reclamation” situation here in Cambria as part of the desal project. And yes, nitrates are one of the issues. Another issue is, it doesn’t work. We are still being expected to pay for it, though, thanks to the current CCSD. As I understand, it has not met environmental requirements, cost so far in the neighborhood of 13 million and the blowers for the evaporation pond cannot be run because they have caused chemical burns on humans. Those things are death traps for wildlife as well. The fence was left unsecured and three deer got in, who, because of drought, were desperate for water. One suffered two broken legs. All three had to be put down. Imagine the birds, etc., that are dieing in that thing. Not to mention it could have been kids from the camp ground next door. Because the blowers cannot be used, the output is very low, just enough to charge us for running it.

We are about to see another series of rate hikes, based on the cost of operation and infrastructure improvements necessary, but some of us (I hope many) are protesting this. I did not mind a fair rate hike for the right purposes, but on top of the fees we are expected to pay for the disfunctional plant, it is unacceptable and an irresponsible attitude towards public funds.

This was not the project the people bargained for. There was a bait and switch, involving two firms to design and install that are clients of the law firm of which a CCSD member is a senior partner. Cute. Do not assume that you can trust those on the water board. They may have friends or designs on your community for which you are not aware of voting.

I could go on at length. The main concern here, if you think that you want enough developement to pay for such a thing and believe that developement money is how it would actually go down, is what happens when they screw up (you know, as profit seeking humans they will) and the fluid injected into the ground water basin is contaminated???

Until the nitrates go up?