The city’s update on the wastewater master plan recommended some immediate changes to repair and improve the system.

Louis Sun, deputy director of public works, presented the report. He will be leaving Pacifica after five years to take the job of director of public works in Foster City. Much of the report was presented by Woodard & Curran Inc., a consultant City Council hired to complete a master plan update study.

City Council unanimously approved the master plan update on Oct. 25.

The city’s wastewater collection system is subject to sanitary sewer overflows during severe storm events. In May 2011, the regional water quality control board issued a cease and desist order as a result of overflows. In June 2011 the city entered into a consent decree with Our Children’s Earth Foundation, which had sued the city over environmental concerns. Both orders required the city to prepare and adopt an updated sewer system management plan that includes plans and programs for addressing condition, capacity, operations and maintenance.

In 2011, the city completed a collection system master plan that included development of a long-term plan for rehabilitation and replacement of sewer mainlines, recommendations for upsizing various sewer mainlines and a recommendation to construct a wet weather equalization basin to mitigate storm-related spills in the lower Linda Mar neighborhood. The equalization basin was completed in 2019, fulfilling terms of the consent decree and cease and desist order.

In 2019, City Council approved a new settlement agreement with California River Watch and updated the sewer management plan. That establishes a web link to the state Water Resources Control Board California Integrated Water Quality system’s sanitary sewer overflows public reports website. It also updates the sewer system management plan budget, capital improvement program, inventory and goals.

Since 2011, the city has completed the rehabilitation and replacement of capacity related projects by rehabilitating and replacing 60,000 feet of sanitary sewer mains over the past ten years. The city wants to update the sewer system master plan and undertake assessments to address sea level rise and climate change on the sewer infrastructure.

In 2019, City Council approved a consultant agreement with Woodward & Curran Inc. for the next phase of the collection system master plan update. The scope of work runs from 2019 to 2022 and will cost $334,520. The funds to pay for that are in a wastewater fund.

The consultant’s representative, Gisa Ju, presented these recommendations at the City Council meeting. 

The consultant recommended four capacity improvement projects. On Crespi Drive, put in a bigger pipe to address a predicted overflow at a cost of $1,069,000. On Linda Mar Boulevard, use a bigger pipe to address inadequate equipment at a cost of $453,000. On Fremont Avenue, use a bigger pipe to address inadequate equipment at a cost of $207,000. On Catalina Avenue, use a bigger pipe to address a predicted overflow at a cost of $739,000.

Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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