City of Lincoln
Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Facility
The Placer County Board of Supervisors will make an historic decision at a special meeting on Dec. 6 that will have far-reaching financial and environmental implications for the county and two of its cities. The issue: how to meet federal and state standards for treating wastewater from North Auburn. The board will weigh two options: upgrading the county’s existing wastewater treatment plant that serves Sewer Maintenance District 1 in North Auburn or constructing a regional treatment system. Under the second option, a pipeline would be built to convey wastewater from Auburn and North Auburn to Lincoln’s treatment plant, a new facility that meets federal and state standards and has room for expansion.
Every expert who has commented on this project has stated the regional approach is a far-superior solution. Without question a decision to invest $63 million to upgrade the existing North Auburn plant will eliminate the opportunity to build the regional project for at least 30 years.
A regional system has several advantages:
- It would have huge environmental benefits, because wastewater would be sent by pipeline to Lincoln, bypassing areas of Auburn Ravine and Coon Creek that are sensitive habitats for salmon and steelhead.
- The Lincoln plant has the best performance record in Placer County and has plenty of room to expand in response to population growth or new state and federal standards. The existing North Auburn and City of Auburn treatment plants are on hilly, relatively small sites with less capacity for expansion and improvements.
- The Lincoln plant can easily be expanded incrementally to match population growth, allowing strong linkages between capital investments and increased revenue from new development.
- The regional system would help protect customers from catastrophic rate increases, because costs for improvements prompted by new federal or state rules would be shared by a larger customer base.
- Building the regional system would allow local agencies to recoup investments already made in the project and would provide a financial shot in the arm to the City of Lincoln.
- The regional project is the only solution that allows the reuse of treated wastewater by making more available where the demand is highest. Wastewater sent by pipeline to Lincoln from Auburn and North Auburn would be transformed into reclaimed water available to West Placer farmers, nearby cities for such purposes as open space irrigation and potential industrial uses.
I welcome your input and strongly encourage you to educate yourself and participate in the public meetings as we consider this historic decision.