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February 26, 2014
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Grass Valley council approves $120K study of wastewater

The Grass Valley City Council has approved $120,520 to fund an investigation of how rainwater and groundwater affect the city’s sewer lines. The expense was approved as an amendment to an existing $707,000 contract with Stantec Consulting Services to develop master plans for the city’s water and waste water systems.

One of the provisions of that grant money requires that master plan to include an Infiltration and Inflow (I&I) Investigation.

According to public works director Tim Kiser, 92 percent of the sewer master plan has been funded by a $499,000 grant secured with Stantec’s help.

“The one caveat that the grant had that we had to expand on was I&I,” Kiser said.

I&I is a problem. It increases the volume of water flowing through the wastewater system, all of which has to be treated before it can be released back into the watershed.

It’s very expensive to treat sewage, Kiser said. The city has to pay for all the additional water absorbed by the sewage system, and it effectively reduces the treatment plant’s capacity.

“We’ve already got some monitors in place to look at the big picture in our major trunk lines,” Kiser told The Union.

“With this amendment, we’ll be able to take micrometers and then put them out into neighborhoods and other areas to pinpoint locations of potential inflow.”

The wet weather in this week’s forecast should provide an opportunity to study how I&I affects the major trunk lines of the city’s sewer system. However, it will take time to install the micrometers — and the rest of the study may not be complete until fall of 2014.

The study may continue into 2015 if dry conditions persist throughout the year.

During the board comment phase of Tuesday night’s meeting, Councilmember Lisa Swarthout called out Supervisor Terry Lamphier and former local politico Reinette Senum, a former Nevada City councilwoman, for recent comments regarding the proposed shopping center near the Dorsey Drive interchange project.

“It’s really inappropriate for other elected officials from other jurisdictions, or former elected officials, to be beating the drum and spreading a lot of lies and misinformation about what’s happening in Grass Valley,” Swarthout said.

The recent controversy surrounding the shopping center appears to have been fueled by comments on Facebook, and Swarthout warned against believing everything one reads online.

“Don’t let social media rule the world, because anybody can say anything on the Internet, and it’s not always true,” Swarthout said.

To contact staff writer Dave Brooksher, call 530-477-4230 or email

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The Union Updated Feb 26, 2014 05:42PM Published Feb 27, 2014 03:22PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.