New Rates to Appear in August Bill
Beginning in July, the City of Morro Bay’s combined water and sewer bill increased in order to fund operations and maintenance of the entire water and sewer system, along with important infrastructure improvements including the new Water Reclamation Facility (WRF). The increase will appear in the August bill for water/sewer use in July. Additional information is available here.
California Coastal Commission Approves Coastal Development Permit
The Coastal Development Permit for the City of Morro Bay’s Water Reclamation Facility project was unanimously approved by the California Coastal Commission on July 11, 2019 marking an important step in the permitting process for the City’s largest-ever infrastructure project. Read the City’s news release here.
Conceptual Design Complete for Pipeline Project
The conceptual design of the offsite facilities, including the pump stations, pipelines and injection wells, is complete. Alignment alternatives were reviewed, and the project team is working toward the 60 percent project design. In January 2019, the Morro Bay City Council directed project staff to proceed with design of the Quintana Road pipeline alignment.
Starting in April 2019, crews began the site investigation work that establishes the basis for the project design by confirming existing utilities in the right-of-way, learning more about the subsurface soils, and performing the topographic survey. Traffic impacts during this design phase will be minimal, and traffic control will be in place immediately adjacent to the work sites.
Water Reclamation Facility Design-Build Team Selected
In June 2018, the City selected the Filanc/Black & Veatch design-build contractor team for the Water Reclamation Facility project. The City conducted a two-step process to select the Filanc/Black & Veatch team, and the team has been actively working on the Basis of Design Report and Conceptual Design Report with City and project staff. The reports are about 30 percent complete and will be presented to City Council in May 2019. Initial site work will begin in mid-2019 at the facility site north of Highway 1 on South Bay Boulevard, including clearing and grading activities.
Low-Interest Funding Update
Securing low-interest federal and state funding for the project is a high priority for the City, and multiple funding avenues are being pursued with the goal to have funding secured in spring 2019. The City has coordinated extensively with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act staff to provide input and answer questions regarding the environmental review of the City’s funding application. In January and February, the City reviewed and provided input to State Water Resources Control Board staff for the City’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund application scoring sheet.
Utility Rate Setting Process Complete
In June 2018, City staff, project staff and the Blue-Ribbon Commission developed a revised project budget of $126 million. That budget was used to complete the City Council reviewed and approved rate study by Bartle Wells. In fall 2018, the City completed the Proposition 218 process and adopted a new surcharge of $41 per month (for single family homes) to fund the Water Reclamation Project.
Water Reclamation Facility Goals
Morro Bay’s Water Reclamation Facility Community Goals, adopted by City Council in December 2013 and amended on October 24, 2017, are:
- All aspects of the WRF project shall be completed ensuring economic value with a special emphasis on minimizing rate payer and City expense.
- Communicate WRF project progress including general project status, milestones, and budget/cost information to our community members regularly.
- Produce tertiary, disinfected wastewater in accordance with Title 22 requirements for unrestricted urban irrigation.
- Design to produce reclaimed wastewater to augment the City’s water supply, by either direct or indirect means, as described in a master water reclamation plan and to maximize funding opportunities.
- Include features in the WRF project that maximize the City’s opportunities to secure funding and maximize efficiencies.
- Design to minimize the impacts from contaminants of emerging concern in the future.
- Ensure compatibility with neighboring land uses.