River, Rates, and Regulations: DSPUD discusses proposed upgrades
DSPUD’s Board meets tonight at 6pm, Sherritt Lane, Soda Springs. Public is urged to attend to learn details of the project and upcoming decisions.
The Donner Summit Public Utility District, along with EcoLogic and the US Forest Service, held a public scoping meeting last night at Sugar Bowl’s Judah Lodge to listen and respond to input about the proposed Wastewater Facilities Plan.
The District is required to come into compliance with its waste discharge permit and has proposed upgrades to its treatment plant in order to meet these requirements. The DSPUD discharges treated wastewater to the Yuba river during the wet and snowy months and sprays treated wastewater at Soda Springs Ski Area during the dry months. DSPUD operates on US Forest Service land, requiring a special use permit. Changes in this special use permit trigger the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) processes. Last night’s meeting was an initial step in these processes.
Although compliance is the number one issue, the District is also working to accomodate aniticipated growth conisistent with the General Plans of both Nevada and Placer counties. DSPUD’s objectives in meeting these needs are: Keep rates reasonable, improve water quality, and minimize environmental impacts. The size and cost of the proposed upgrades will be determined in part by the number of unimproved lots anticipating connection. The cost allocation methodology has not been decided by the Board, but will be discussed at upcoming Board meetings. The proposed wastewater treatment facility will improve the quality of effluent and allow less discharge into the Yuba river. Environmental baseline studies have already occurred, allowing the project to address environmental concerns and avoid costly delays or mitigation.
The members of the public in attendance seemed to support the project. There were questions about the timeline for completing the required steps of the NEPA process and the timeline for construction. Construction is anticipated to begin June 2012 and end December 2013. Some pushed to accelerate the project, hoping to secure conracts during a slow economy, thereby reducing the cost of the project. Others were concerned that the proposal may result in increased capacity paid for by existing ratepayers. It was reiterated that creating additional EDUs (Equivalent Dwelling Units, the measure used to determine rates) is not a component of this project.
Copies of the plan and other information can be found on the Donner Summit Public Utility District website or download a copy here. The public can attend Board meetings (next meeting September 21 at 6pm) to get a better understanding of the project and its implications.