Morro Bay city council members may be starting to agree with local nature-lovers that itâ€™s time to clean up the sewage outfall off Morro Strand Beach (â€œSewage, swimmers and sea otters,â€? New Times, March 16). The Council requested a last-minute postponement of the Regional Water Quality Control Boardâ€™s scheduled hearing on the Morro Bay/Cayucos sewage discharge.
According to city attorney Rob Schultz, the Morro Bay City Council has discussed â€œfurther shortening the timetableâ€? for improving treatment at the sewage plant located at the beach end of Highway 41, after comments from environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Hundreds of people have asked that Morro Bay and Cayucos be required to upgrade their sewage plant to provide tertiary treatment, which would result in high-quality reclaimed water suitable for irrigation. They cite concerns about disease and death among sea otters near the sewage outfall pipe, as well as possible beach and surf pollution, and say the proposed 9.5 year timeline to upgrade is too long.
The City Council has â€œagreed conceptuallyâ€? to a shorter timeframe â€œto reach full secondary treatment,â€? but the city attorney says they want time to hold a public hearing to â€œfully understand the consequences and ramificationsâ€? of cleaning up more quickly.
The Regional Water Quality Control Board has set a tentative date for a new hearing on the sewage outfall: May 12 in Watsonville.