South County wastewater plant earns crappy marks



An inspection report made public Feb. 21 revealed several deficiencies--including poor maintenance, chemical spills, improper storage of chemicals, failure to certify reports, floating solids remaining in later stages of the treatment process, and inadequate staffing levels--at the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District’s wastewater treatment facility, which serves the 38,000 residents of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and Oceano.

PG Environmental, a private firm hired by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, toured the site on Dec. 19 and graded the plant in nine categories, finding it unsatisfactory in three (records, facility site review, and operations/maintenance), marginal in effluent and receiving waters, and satisfactory in the rest.

An inspector found that two of four influent pumps were out of service, and the isolation valves that would allow the pumps to be replaced also weren’t working. One of the two sodium hypochlorite tanks had ruptured and was taken out of service.

The day before the report came out, John Wallace resigned as the South County Sanitation District administrator, but his consulting firm, the Wallace Group, continues to act as the district’s engineering consultant.

Matt Guerrero, a board member for the district, told New Times that the board was aware that the inspection report was coming, but didn’t know how bad the evaluation would be at the tme of  Wallace’s resignation.

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