Wastewater Treatment Plant Project - Updated April 29, 2013

California Coastal Commission January 10, 2013 Meeting
At the January 10, 2013 California Coastal Commission (CCC) meeting, the CCC voted to deny the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for construction of an upgraded wastewater treatment plant at its existing location. In summary, the basis for denial included: Local Coastal Plan - Zoning inconsistency, failure to avoid coastal hazards, failure to include a sizable reclaimed water component and the project is located within an LCP-designated sensitive view area.

Denial of the CDP means the City and the Cayucos Sanitary District will be looking at alternative locations for siting of a new wastewater treatment plant.

Project Planning has begun based on community values, for the new Water Reclamation Facility.

Letter from Cayucos Sanitary District Board - January 7, 2013
Letter from the Cayucos Sanitary District (PDF) requesting that the Morro Bay City Council join them in the withdrawal of the application for the Wastewater Treatment Project (Application No. A-3-MRB-11-001). This issue may be under consideration as an emergency added item for discussion and action at the January 8, 2013 City Council Meeting.

Council Resolution 07-13
On January 3, 2013, the City Council adopted Resolution 07-13 (PDF) supporting the California Coastal Commission staff recommendation for denial of WWTP upgrade project (Application No. A-3-MRB-11-001).

De Novo Hearing - January 10, 2013
The Coastal Commission has set the date of the De Novo hearing for January 10, 2013 and the staff report can be found on the Coastal Commission's Current Meeting Agenda (PDF) (Item 23b).

Comments to Coastal Commission
The Coastal Commission has established a special email address where the public can provide comments to Commission staff regarding the project.

Comments and Corrections to the CCC August 9, 2012 Staff Report regarding the City of Morro Bay and Cayucos Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade
This Staff Report (PDF) is now available for review. It contains comments and corrections to the California Coastal Commission Staff Report (PDF) issued on July 27, 2012. Review the letter from August 3, 2012 regarding De Novo CDP Review City of Morro Bay and the Cayucos Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Response to Staff Report for Hearing August 9, 2012 (Item 17a) (PDF) for more information.

The draft Recycled Water Feasibility Study (PDF) is available for review. The City and Cayucos Sanitary District sought input on the draft study and encouraged members of the public to provide comments by the end of day Wednesday, April 4, 2012.

The draft study was reviewed by the JPA at its April 12, 2012 meeting.All comments received by the end of the comment period were included in the staff report to the JPA and forwarded to the Coastal Commission. Members of the public who have not provided comments by April 4, can send comments directly to the Coastal Commission. For more information, please read the April 26 Comment Responses (PDF).

Fine Screening Alternative Sites Evaluation
An overview of the draft Fine Screening Analysis was presented to the JPA at its November 10 meeting.

The City of Morro Bay (City) and Cayucos Sanitary District (District) held a follow-up public workshop on September 19to receive additional comments on the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) Upgrade Project Draft Rough Screening Evaluation recommendations, Fine Screening candidate evaluation criteria, and the anticipated California Coastal Commission (CCC) De Novo hearing schedule and requirements.

Public workshops were previously held on June 27 and June 28, 2011, and a JPA hearing conducted on September 8, 2011, in response to comments raised during the environmental and CCC appeals processes, as well as to receive public comments on the proposed site screening evaluation and work plan. The goal of the workshops were to ensure continued conduct of a thorough and balanced alternatives analysis and additional technical documentation, as requested by the CCC.

The workshop presented information on the preliminary recommendations of the Rough Screening Evaluation, and introduced candidate criteria for conduct of a more detailed and co-equal level of analysis during Fine Screening. A public comment and answer period was held following completion of the presentation.The deadline for public comments was September 30, 2011.

General Description of the Project
The City and MBCSD are in the process of upgrading the wastewater treatment plant to full secondary treatment and to provide tertiary filtration capacity of 1.5 million gallons per day. The tertiary filtered effluent would meet standards for disinfected secondary recycled water and as such could be used for limited beneficial uses. The project was required to be completely operational and in full compliance with state and federal permits by March 31, 2014. However, the schedule is now on hold pending an appeal of the California Coastal Commission permit. The total estimated project cost is approximately $34.3 million. The construction cost is estimated at $27.5 million and the incidental project costs such as the environmental analysis, engineering, inspection and management costs are estimated at $6.8 million.

The process of examining the various planning and design options were carefully analyzed during the past several years through a Facility Master Plan (PDF), which was prepared by Carollo Engineers. The process involved intense technical analysis and public input and discussion, which resulted in the current project description. Based on the analysis and public input, the Council and District Board adopted the final recommendation to upgrade the plant to tertiary treatment using an oxidation ditch biological process with filtration as the preferred treatment option. For a more detailed Project Description, please refer to: “Morro Bay-Cayucos Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade, Project Description, August 2010”, which is contained in Chapter 2 of the EIR.

Status of the Project
3 main components of the project include the design, the environmental review and permitting process, and the funding options for financing the upgrade.

The project is on hold pending the California Coastal Commission appeal process. Please visit their website for additional information regarding the appeal process, public meeting dates, and video archives of past meetings.
The City of Morro Bay and Cayucos Sanitary District awarded Engineering Design Services for the Waste Water Treatment Plant Upgrade Project to Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH) on February 16th 2010.

The design is on hold pending the California Coastal Commission approval process.
    • Notice to Proceed for Final Design was issued on July 9, 2010.
    • Site plan alternative layouts havebeen prepared.
    • First draft architechtural renderings have been prepared.
    • Geotechnical borings have been taken.
    • A boundary survey of the property has begun.

Environmental Impact Report
The City Council certified the EIR on January 11, 2011 and was not contested.
The draft Environmental Impact Report was released for public review and comment on September 20, 2010.
The EIR is available as follows:
  • City of Morro Bay Website (www.morro-bay.ca.us/wwtpupgrade)
  • Cayucos Sanitary District Website (www.cayucossd.org)
  • Morro Bay Public Library
  • Cayucos Library
  • Morro Bay Public Services Department
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant Office
  • Cayucos Sanitary District Office
  • For purchase at ASAP Reprographics
  • A Draft EIR Presentation (PDF) was presented at the October 14, 2010 JPA meeting.
  • Public comments were due November 12, 2010 which was 45 days after the draft Environmental Impact Report's release.
  • The Final EIR (PDF) was released on December 13, 2010 and certified by the City Council on January 11, 2011.
  • State Revolving Fund Loan
    Processing of the State Revolving Fund Loan (SRF) is on hold pending the California Coastal Commission appeal
    process.The MBCSD has selected the SRF loanas the source of funding for the project. This loan program is
    administered by the State Water Resources Control Board and loans are made to local jurisdictions at a low interest rate.
    It is not known at this time what the actual rate will be. However, current rates are in the 3% range.

    In August 2007 the City and District adopted Draft Revenue Programs that were developed by Carollo Engineers. The
    purpose of the Revenue Programs are to establish impacts to the existing sewer rate structure for financing the upgrades
    to the treatment plant. The Revenue Programs are used to estimate the monthly sewer charges and connection fees for
    the first year of operation of the upgraded and rehabilitated treatment plant to assure the State Water Resources Control
    Board (SWRCB) that the City and District collect sufficient money to cover operations for that year and pay the first yearly
    SRF loan payment. The Revenue Program was used to establish the Current Sewer Rates for the City of Morro Bay (PDF) adopted by the City Council in November 2007, with Resolution No. 55-07. The Cayucos Sanitary District adopted its Revenue Program and established its sewer rates with the adoption of Resolution No. 2007-6.

    Project Schedule (Last update: December 26, 2012)
    The project is on hold pending the appeal to the California Coastal Commission. Please refer to this website or public notices for possible updates. Updates will be posted on this website as they occur.

    Draft EIR is released for public review September 20, 2010
    Presentation of Draft EIR at Planning Commission October 4, 2010
    Presentation of Draft EIR at JPA October 14, 2010
    Public Meeting to receive public comment on the draft EIR October 28, 2010
    Deadline for draft EIR public comments November 12, 2010
    Conceptual review of the Conditional Use Permit, Coastal Permit and Draft EIR, Planning
    Commission Meeting
    December 20, 2010
    Council certified the EIR and approved the Conditional Use Permit and Coastal Permit January 11, 2011
    Public Input Workshops June 27 and 28, 2011
    JPA Meeting, Rough Screening Alternative Sites Evaluation Presentation September 8, 2011
    Public Input Workshop #3 September 19, 2011
    Deadline on Comments for Rough Screening Analysis September 30, 2011
    JPA Meeting to Review Fine Screening Analysis November 10, 2011
    De Novo Coastal Commission Hearing January 10, 2013
    Completion of the Design On hold.
    Advertise for Construction Bids On hold.
    Receive Construction Bids On hold.
    Award Construction Contract, after receiving State Revolving Loan Approval On hold.
    Completion of Construction On hold.
    Achieve full compliance with federal secondary treatment requirements On hold.

    JPA Meeting Dates & Times
    The wastewater treatment plant is jointly owned and operated by the Morro Bay Cayucos Sanitary District (MBCSD) through a joint powers agreement. Meetings are conducted the second Thursday of each month at 6:00 PM and are hosted by either the City of Morro Bay or the Cayucos Sanitary District. The public is encouraged to attend and interact with the MBCSD officials about the upgrade project at these meetings. Agendas for the meetings are posted on the City and District web sites prior to the meetings. If you would like to sign up for electronic notification of the JPA meetings, please sign up with the Notify Me service listed on the City's homepage. The JPA meetings are the forum for discussing the upgrade project rather than at the separate City Council or Board meetings.

    Online Documents Available for Reference
    June 27 - 28, 2011 Workshop Information
    September 19, 2011 Workshop Information