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NC water plant costs may rise

John HartNevada City wastewater treatment plant workers Michael Faudoa (left), Ryan Love and Jim Wofford kneel at the facility Wednesday. Because of stricter state requirements, the plant's operating costs could increase substantially.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Operation of Nevada City’s wastewater treatment plant could cost more in order to meet increasingly stricter state clean water requirements.

How much more is an open-ended question, but it will be a significant amount, City Manager Beryl Robinson said Wednesday.



The California Regional Water Quality Control Board on April 26 will consider renewing the city’s permit to run the plant. The plant will have to meet more-stringent requirements, a draft of the new permit shows.




An engineer will have to advise the city as to what needs to be done to improve the facility, wastewater treatment plant supervisor Jim Wofford said Wednesday.

“We’re going to do something,” he said. “The extent of it … we don’t know yet.”

The plant will have to meet stricter turbidity, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia criteria by 2007, he said.

It will also have to meet stricter state pH requirements by 2003. The pH of the effluent – a measure of the water’s acidity and alkalinity – hasn’t met state standards on four occasions since 1999, Wofford said.

City officials may soon send a letter to the water quality board to postpone the permit hearing to June, saying they want more time to study the requirements.

The public has until Monday to comment on the proposed permit.

John van der Veen of Friends of Deer Creek said his group will forward comments to the state.

The city has lost $197,252 in the operation of its wastewater treatment system over the years and $81,175 in the operation of its water treatment system, city figures show.

On Monday, Robinson recommended that sewer and water rates be increased by 10 percent, effective July 1. Homeowners pay $53 every two months for sewer services.

The City Council will have to approve the increases.

The wastewater treatment plant and sewer system operate on a budget of $600,000 a year. The city still owes $1.1 million for a series of past improvements at the plant.


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