Answers to Blue PCF Flyer About Granada Sanitary District

Letter

Posted by
Sun, November 1, 2009


Paul Perkovic is President of the Montara Water and Sanitary District Board of Directors, but this article reflects his own understanding of Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside work on the Intertie Pipeline System and not the official position of the GSD or MWSD Boards.

"Put Community First", a Coastside political action committee, has been distributing last-minute campaign material that raises questions about the incumbent Granada Sanitary District (GSD) Board Members - Ric Lohman, Gael Erickson, and Leonard Woren.

Here are the questions, and my (unofficial) answers:

"Why do we still have polluted beaches?"

Since Carollo Engineers performed an extensive series of studies and analyses in 1998 and 1999, identifying problem areas in the Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside (SAM) Intertie Pipeline System (IPS), the member agencies, including GSD, have completed improvements eliminating approximately 95% of the previous incidence of IPS sewage overflows.

In those rare instances in which spills still occur, their severity has been greatly reduced by the flow equalization storage capacity at the rehabilitated Walker Tank in Montara and through better sequencing of pump operations.

Much of the continuing pollution, especially in the Pillar Point Harbor area, seems to be coming from runoff into local creeks that drain into the harbor. GSD has invested in studies that show sanitary sewer overflows are not the problem.

"Why in the last 12 years has there been no action on fixing our leaky sewers?"

This is a typical Larimer/Ginna style "Why haven’t you stopped beating your wife?" false question. The simple fact, as noted above, is that the SAM member agencies have completed extensive improvements, both regionally (for the IPS itself) and locally (for individual agency collection systems, to reduce inflow and infiltration into the sanitary sewer lines). Those completed projects have brought SAM about 95% of the overall expected benefit at approximately 20% of the engineer’s estimate for total project costs. GSD ratepayers - and those of other agencies - should applaud the conscientious work of the SAM Board in carefully evaluating necessary projects, and not simply rubber-stamping an overblown engineering proposal.

"Why is the present Granada Sanitary District board trying to buy real estate instead of fixing our sewer system?"

It’s simple: To construct flow equalization storage, you need someplace to locate the storage facility. Montara already owned an appropriate parcel of land with an existing tank that could be rehabilitated. Granada needs to put the storage somewhere - the underground, gravity flow, passive system is the most foolproof and cost effective alternative. It does not depend on electric power which is likely to fail during a major storm. Total cost of the Granada equalization facility, including site acquisition, is about half of what the alternative would cost, when all costs are included.

"Why has Montara Water & Sanitary District board been allowed to ignore the approx. $500K they owe us in Granada Sanitary District?"

This has been discussed and resolved before. Property owners in the MWSD service area will reimburse GSD and Half Moon Bay for a portion of the wastewater treatment plant expansion when those property owners require additional sewer capacity. A lawsuit overturned Montara Sanitary District’s assessment district. All SAM member agencies decided it was more important to complete the expansion on schedule to serve the needs of pending development proposals, rather than to wait for MSD to form a new assessment district.

"Why did Granada Sanitary District use your tax money recently to send out an expensive mailer masquerading as a ‘newsletter’ - a first in GSD’s history?"

Probably the GSD Board wanted to keep its ratepayers informed of the progress it has made towards completing the Wet Weather Flow Management Project to help prevent sewer overlows during heavy rains. Every responsible public agency keeps its constituents informed. SAM itself publishes a newsletter; MWSD generally publishes a newsletter twice a year. A newsletter, like broadcast of public meetings on MCTV Channel 6, is another way to keep the public informed. It is a small price to pay for open government.

These are my individual opinions, as a well-informed member of your other Midcoast agency providing sanitary sewer service to our community.