Growth outstrips sewer plant

February 27, 2002 12:00 am

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

Angels Camps new wastewater treatment plant will be too small almost before its completed.

Thats the word from City Engineer Gary Ghio.

Ghio told city officials Monday that the new state-of-the-art plant still under construction will have inadequate capacity within two years. The plant is scheduled to be completed this spring.

If we keep building 105 houses a year, we have one to one-and-a-half years (sewer) capacity, Ghio said during a Monday afternoon workshop on city water and sewer issues.

The problem, according to City Administrator Tim Shearer, is the citys growth. He said five and a half years ago, when Angels Camp began building a newer, bigger sewer plant, we were looking at somewhere between five and 16 new units a year. Then it went to 60. Now its off the scale.

With about 105 new units a year going up in Angels Camp, the new sewer treatment plant is going to have to expand again, and soon.

And the city has approved more new projects than it has sewer capacity to serve, according to City Planner Amy Augustine.

Approving projects we cant serve opens the city to liability, he told city council members, city officials and members of the public attending the workshop.

After the meeting she elaborated: If all of the projects that the city has approved come in for building permits and sewer hookups, we would not have the (sewer service) capacity for all of them, she said.

City Attorney Richard Matranga cautioned officials that government regulations link growth with water supply. Municipalities are having to prove they have the water supply and sewage treatment capacity for their projected growth, he said.

The real issue is the capacity in your water and sewer plants. Water planning should precede your development plan, he told workshop participants. If you dont approve another project, youve already exceeded capacity with all that are already on the books. The prudent thing to do is good planning so this doesnt keep happening.