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Sonoma County Gazette
Occidental Waste Disposal, Sonoma County

  • OPINION: Occidental Trucks Wastewater for Wasteful Disposal

Jun 28, 2017


Letter to the Sonoma County Water Agency, Board of Supervisors and the People of Occidental

By Ann Maurice, Ad Hoc Committee for Clean Water

After more than 25 years of the Sonoma County Water Agency playing games around Occidental sewage disposal, the newest insult emerges. Wrapped in moral bankruptcy, the otherwise enjoyable and beautiful town seems to have no problem acting like a selfish prima donna with no need to request, but rather just impose their raw sewage unnecessarily on the rest of us with impunity.

The latest plan is to drive huge tanker trucks carrying raw sewage up to 15 trips per day along our twisting, narrow, shoulderless country roads putting drivers and bicyclists at risk. The latest route is from Occidental along Graton Road to Hwy 116 and Vine Hill Road, Guerneville Road, Olivet, Slusser, McLaughlin and Fulton Roads all the way to Airport Boulevard and the treatment plant.

Why is this plan morally bankrupt? Because few Occidental ratepayers even show up for these meetings even though this latest one was at the Union

Hotel in Occidental! Few in Occidental even take responsibility for the millions of gallons of sewage they create, instead, just impose their waste on others -- out of sight out of mind dumped elsewhere as cheaply as possible. And the Water Agency, the immoral ennabler, is pushing that foul-smelling agenda.

The most recent in the 30-year history of failed proposals was to truck Occidental’s wastewater to a rural Guerneville neighborhood. The residents of Guernewood Park hollered “murder”, and furiously kicked that plan out of their neighborhood. So the new plan was to truck Occidental’s raw sewage to Graton! What happened to that? Did Graton residents squawk? We don’t even know because the Water Agency isn’t talking! Now, the plan is to take the wastewater to a Larkfield/Wikiup location.

Is trucking raw sewage around West County the only viable option? HECK NO! There are 3 tertiary technologies available to choose from and all economically feasible to be constructed IN TOWN! The Water Agency thought the $7 million, $10 million, $13 million absurd options they considered only 3 years ago, were all financially “feasible”. All of a sudden, a cheaper $5 million rational and practical TERTIARY treatmemt option with ultra-violet disinfection IN Occidental is “too expensive”!

Are grants even necessary? NO! We believe the funds are buried in the coffers of the Water Agency, they’d just rather spend big bucks on pensions and benefits for their $250,000 a year engineers! We asked for an accounting and are still, 4 years later, waiting!

If tanker trucks are an “interim” plan, they are certainly no long term solution! A tertiary treatment plant IN TOWN, is affordable and feasible. The cheapest and, we say, the best option is Aeromod. It’s proven effective, easy to operate, cheap to maintain and proven successful in our North Coast

Region. Enough of these failed plans, wasted time, and wasted money! And enough of the prima donna mentality that is an embarrassment to our community! Occidental has no right to dump its sewage on the rest of us disrupting our lives, our properties and putting us at risk for their own economic benefit. Nefarious, hidden, political agendas must be at play because reasonableness, fairness and common courtesy have been kicked to the curb!

 See the Sonoma County Gazette archives for numerous articles on the Ad Hoc Committee for Clean Water’s alternative proposals.



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