Public hearing tonight on proposal for San Juan food processors to connect to city sewer system

The San Juan Bautista City Council will hold a public hearing
tonight to consider a proposal to have three of the San Juan
Valley’s vegetable processors connect to the city’s sewer
system.
The San Juan Bautista City Council will hold a public hearing tonight to consider a proposal to have three of the San Juan Valley’s vegetable processors connect to the city’s sewer system.

Originally, Pride of San Juan, Natural Selection Foods and Coke Farms filed separate applications for outside sewer services. But in May 2002, the Local Agency Formation Commission said the three separate applications were “piece-mealing” and not permissible under the California Environmental Quality Act.

LAFCO Executive Officer Rob Mendiola recommended that the companies join for a positive solution. Representatives of the companies met shortly afterward and agreed to join and present a plan to LAFCO, with the San Benito County Water District as the lead agency.

At last month’s hearing, SBCWD Manager John Gregg said San Juan Bautista’s General Plan sought to preserve the agricultural land in the sphere of influence and that the intent of the project was to develop special recycling sites for irrigation to allow minimum wastewater flow to the city. The project was endorsed by LAFCO, the water district, the county planning department and the Regional Water Quality Control Board, Gregg said.

The city’s sewer plant is permitted by the RWQCB to take in 270,000 gallons of effluent per day. San Juan Bautista averages between 190,000 and 210,000 gallons per day.

Rather than having the vegetable processors create their own leech fields, the sewage would come to the city’s sewer treatment plant and would be treated, then released into ground before it makes its way into the San Benito River. An advantage is that the water coming into the treatment plant would be free of softeners, decreasing the amount of salt content in the city’s sewer plant.

Pride of San Juan would add 1,250 gallons per day to the treatment plant while Natural Selection paid for the right to discharge 10,000 gallons per day.

The Council will consider adopting a mitigated declaration for the proposed San Juan Valley Vegetable Processors Domestic Wastewater Connection. In May 1999, the Council approved Pride of San Juan’s request and in July 1999, LAFCO accepted its request for outside services.

The company then paid $55,000 for capacity reserve fee and all other expenses to build the pipeline from its plant to the city’s station on First Street.

In May 2001, the Council passed a resolution adopting a negative declaration that would allow Coke Farms to connect to the city sewer system. The capacity reserve fee was set at $15,000, which has yet to be paid pending LAFCO approval.

In January 2002, the Council approved Natural Selection Foods’ application to LAFCO, which again approved a resolution for outside services. The company also paid a capacity reserve fee of $55,000.

Leave your comments