If you’ve been following the sewer plant project for a few years you’ve probably noticed that the size of the project area keeps increasing. The term “project area” refers to those properties that will be allowed to hook up to any future sewer system. Up until quite recently the project area was limited to the Woodacre Flats section of Woodacre which is commonly known as the low lying area of town where homes run along Redwood, Railroad and Central Avenues. A map of that area is detailed in Questa Engineering’s project report. That made sense considering this is the original area of concern where residents are having trouble with their failing septic systems. The number of properties in the original project area is approximately 150.
The small group of concerned residents in Woodacre that want to build a sewer plant in the San Geronimo Valley realized that there was a problem with the size of the project area. Based on their calculations they determined that only a select percentage of the 150 properties in the project area would agree to hook up to a future sewer system. That’s because many of the property owners in the Woodacre Flats area have systems that are working just fine. Looking at the numbers they realized that the per property cost to build a sewer system for just 100 or 125 properties would far exceed what people were willing to pay. To bring the cost down, they had to increase the project area.
Today the project area has expanded to 360 properties in Woodacre and San Geronimo. It’s important to note that these property owners were never asked if they wanted to be included in the project area and the overall study completed by Questa Engineering. No one conducted a scientific survey to canvas property owners to determine if the project area needed to be expanded. The small group of concerned residents in Woodacre, along with Questa Engineering and compliant county administrators simply decided on their own that they best chance to bring the cost down and get people on board for a sewer plant would be to increase the project area.
But the small group of concerned residents in Woodacre who want to build a sewer plant haven’t stopped there. They want to expand the project area even further to homes that are not near the creek and currently have relatively new, state-of-the-art septic systems. Is it because they care about the creek? Who’s to say? But there is an another motive. In this case, they need access to existing leach fields located on West Nicasio Road that are operated by French Ranch Homeowners Association and the Lagunitas School District. And why do they need access to these leach fields? Because their current plan for a sewer plant that produces reclaimed water does not meet California state requirements for long term storage and disposal effluent that does not meet bacteriological limits for spraying onto the golf course. A leach field would solve that problem by providing a way to “bury” effluent that is over the limit until the sewer plant can correct the problem.
The small group of concerned residents in Woodacre that want to build a sewer plant will tell you that they have increased the project area to serve more homes that might want to connect to the sewer system and ultimately limit the amount of pollution leaching into San Geronimo Creek. It’s true that as more homes with failing septic systems connect to the sewer system we can lower the amount of pollution leaching into the creek. But as you increase the size of the sewer system you increase the negative impacts on the larger Valley including the placement and size of the sewer plant, the need to run sewer pipes across the creek, the odor, the chance of a large spill that will end up right back in the creek, sludge drying, irrigation with contaminated water and much more. Please be sure to read the pages on this website dedicated to cost and those dedicated to the negative impacts of the sewer plant project.