For more than 20 years, the Occidental County Sanitation District has been looking for a solution to its wastewater problem. Over the years, the District has studied alternatives that range from working with Camp Meeker on a small regional system to upgrading its plant and piping the water to farmers for irrigation. None of the approximately 15 options considered have been feasible – due to either costs, environmental concerns or community opposition.
Time is now running short: The District is under orders by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to stop the current practice of discharging recycled water into a pond at the headwaters of Dutch Bill Creek by January 2018. Last year, the District determined that trucking Occidental’s wastewater to another sanitation district is the most cost effective solution.
A recent environmental document analyzed trucking the wastewater to the Russian River County Sanitation District’s main lift station on Riverside Drive, with a back-up option of trucking to the Airport-Larkfield-Wikiup plant. At a public hearing held in Monte Rio in February, the Riverside Drive neighbors made clear their opposition to the project, with more than 20 people speaking out. In response to community concerns, Water Agency staff (working on behalf of the District), is pursuing other options and will be releasing a new environmental document in the next few months.