Lift station

The sewage lift station in Guernewood Park

Guernewood Park residents weren’t exactly crying ‘Oh, thank-you’ this week to a Christmas gift of raw sewage from their Occidental neighbors.

“Totally unacceptable,” said Susan Packer, a Guernewood Park vacation homeowner whose property is on Riverside Drive adjacent to where the County of Sonoma wants to deliver Occidental’s sewage.

“This is a residential neighborhood,” said Packer, writing on the Nextdoor Guernewood Park email site where alarmed neighbors are now talking about the plan, announced two days before Christmas, to truck Occidental’s sewage to Guerneville for treatment and disposal. “We should not be the repository of Occidental’s problems,” said Packer.

The Sonoma County Water Agency (SCWA) sent notices of the project to Guerneville neighbors two weeks ago describing the project and opening a public review window that closes in two more weeks, at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is expected to give final approval after a public hearing scheduled for March 21.

Some Guernewood Park neighbors say that’s too fast and the rush to bring Occidental’s sewage to Guerneville seems a little hurried considering that Occidental residents have been arguing for more than 20 years about how to dispose of their sewage. One thing Occidental ratepayers agree on is that it’s too expensive to keep the sewage in Occidental when it can be trucked to Guerneville where the town treatment plant operates at about half capacity.

But the abrupt notification and brief public review window are problematic, said Guernewood Park resident Richard Skaff.

“Things have been happening with no public discussion,” said Skaff, who asked newly elected Fifth District supervisor Lynda Hopkins this week to hold a community meeting in Guerneville so that “local residents could hear about the plan and provide you with their thoughts and concerns,” said Skaff, in an email to Hopkins this week.

The Occidental Sanitation District would transport about 15,000 gallons of raw sewage per day to a Russian River Sanitation District lift station sandwiched between Highway 116 and Riverside Drive in Guernewood Park. From there the sewage would be mixed with Guerneville’s sewage and pumped to the River District treatment plant on Neeley Road in Vacation Beach.

The Guerneville Transport Compliance Project would enable Occidental to stop draining its treated wastewater into Dutch Bill Creek in the winter.

Sonoma County Water Agency spokeswoman Ann DuBay said anyone with questions about the Occidental project should call her for information and guidance on the environmental issues and approval process. Her number is 524-8578.

The public review period ends Jan. 23 at 5 p.m. Comments should be submitted to Jeff Church, 404 Aviation Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 or to jchurch@scwa.ca.gov.

(1) comment

Sonivek

"Capacity" is a misnomer. When the sanitation district was formed we were REQUIRED by existing law to build a treatment plant that could handle twice what the estimated usage would be; so that we would not have to ask for more facilities or funding during the lifespan of the bonding and FHA funding. So if we needed a million gallons a day of treatment we had to build a two million gallon plant. Check out the County propaganda at the time, it is still available.

My point is that we had to pay for that "capacity" and the County regularly cites the "excess capacity in Guerneville" as a possible solution to all of the neighboring communities needs. Let those areas buy in and pay their fair share, don't let County steal it to solve their problems on our dollar!!

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