City meeting sewer deadlines

By wrapping up two construction projects at its domestic
wastewater plant, the City of Hollister will avoid two potential
fines from the state totaling $400,000.
By wrapping up two construction projects at its domestic wastewater plant, the City of Hollister will avoid two potential fines from the state totaling $400,000.

Public Works Director Clint Quilter said the construction is near completion. He said both are well ahead of the Aug. 1 due date.

“We’re in the process right now,” he said. “We’re transferring flows, working through and making adjustments.”

The projects include replacement of a flow measurement system – the headworks – and interim improvements to reduce suspended solids. The Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered six deadlines with potential fines totaling $1.2 million as part of the penalty for the 15-million gallon sewer spill in May 2002.

With this week’s announcement of two completed projects, the first four projects have been finished ahead of schedule.

The two remaining projects include a hydrogeologic study with a deadline of May 2004 and completion of the new treatment plant scheduled for October 2005.

“We have made a big step in the right direction in building credibility (with the water board),” Councilman Tony Bruscia said. “It’s showing we not only want to, but we can get things done.”

The new headworks system – which regulates flows among wastewater ponds – was designed to more accurately measure the domestic plant’s wastewater in relation to capacity. Construction crews started transferring to the new system Friday and are continuing this week, Quilter said. The old headworks will be demolished.

In September, members of the water board complained about the city’s inconsistent measurement of flows. HydroScience Engineers, contracted for both phases for $2.65 million, has estimated the city’s wastewater flows at 3 million gallons per day. Though the number fluctuates according to time of the day and day of the week, Quilter said.

The interim improvements, or the “Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project,” includes upgrades to improve sewage filtering and to reduce suspended solids.

As part of the city’s penalties, the water board also enacted the cease and desist order disallowing building permits. At Monday’s City Council meeting, Quilter said the improved flow measurement and the city’s compliance with milestones does not necessarily mean the water board will lift the building moratorium – not even in small increments.

“I don’t believe, necessarily, there’s going to be an increment sitting there (in August),” Quilter said.

Leave your comments