On March 5, 2013, a public poll will be drawn for the surface water project. This public vote will decide whether the City of Davis will continue forward with the estimated $240 million for the entire Woodland-Davis collaboration.
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Public to vote on Davis water quality project
The city has been working on improving the city’s water quality since October 2007 when the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a new discharge permit to the city that requires significant upgrades.
“We have the wastewater project because we have new regulations to meet,” said Mike Lindquist, the city’s civil engineer.
The wastewater treatment plant improvement project that the city has set as a result of the new regulations will be implemented in two phases. The first phase, the rehabilitation and replacement phase, which went into effect this fall, will cost about $95 million. By 2014, secondary and tertiary improvements will be implemented as phase two. The project is due to be finished by 2017 in order to meet federal regulations.
Late last month, the Sanitary Sewer Management Plan, part of the wastewater treatment plant improvement project, implemented a revision to its ordinance.
“The ordinance didn’t change how we were working with them,” said Stan Gryczko, the superintendent for the project. “We just needed to change the language so that it was more obvious.”
The ordinance had not been updated for at least five years except for the rate structure. The main revision in the ordinance was for dental offices to install amalgam separators. According to the ordinance, some dental offices are using equipment that results in mercury waste.
Mercury has been identified as a significant pollutant of concern but it is not against state regulations yet.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has, through some of our audits, indicated and recommended to implement these revisions, since in the near future, state regulations will be implemented,” Gryczko said.
The current treated wastewater discharges to Willow Slough Bypass, but Davis is collaborating with Woodland for the Woodland-Davis Water Agency project that will pump water from the Sacramento River, treat it and then pipe it over to Davis and Woodland.
The wastewater plant contains selenium, a dissolved constituent, but while filtering it out of the water, other contaminants such as aluminum, iron and dirt are inadvertently added.
“In the surface water there is no selenium … the surface water project is beneficial to wastewater,” Lindquist said.
The Water Advisory Committee for the city has held meetings to discuss the rate structure if the surface water project moves forward. If accepted, the cost for water for a single family home would increase by as much as double or more the current cost starting next summer. It is projected that it would continue increasing per month for the next five years in order to pay off the surface water project.
“My goal is to have a rate structure that satisfies the requirements of Prop. 218 and is most equitable to our customers,” said Dianna Jensen, the principal civil engineer for the Water Advisory Committee.
Prop. 218 was passed in 1996 and refers to local water, refuse and sewage charges.
Additionally, the Water Advisory Committee must also decide between advisory or binding measures for asking citizens to say “yes” to the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency project on March 5.
If the public does not support the surface water project, the city will have to figure out other means to meet the new state and federal regulations.
“We will definitely have to re-evaluate what our options are for meeting all state and federal requirements for drinking water and wastewater,” Jensen said.
KAMILA KUDELSKA can be reached at email@example.com.