Quincy Wetlands Treatment Project might get money boost
With the Quincy Community Services District’s wastewater treatment plant permit expiring next January, board members and staff are gearing up to satisfy the new permit’s discharge regulations that have yet to come to light.
The district is in the dark because the regional water quality control board hasn’t set the new regulations yet.
To complicate matters further, the district is in the midst of rectifying violations incurred last year when the emergency pond, never a designed and engineered levee, leaked.
“The whole thing’s a mess,” General Manager Larry Sullivan said. “Every damn little leak is an illegal discharge.” And though the water discharged into Spanish Creek meets all water quality regulations, the fact that the leak is not the designated single-point source discharge creates a violation that must be addressed.
To date, the district has invested about $70,000 for analysis, test pits, construction of a retaining wall, monitoring, surveying and more.
“It’s like pouring money down a rat hole,” board director Dick Castaldini said. Board members concurred with that statement. However, as board president Denny Churchill stated, “It’s an illegal discharge.”
Glimmer of light
It wasn’t all bad news, however, as the board entertained an audience with Randy Wilson, county planning director, and supervisor Lori Simpson at its March 13 meeting.
Wilson told the board he was there to discuss Proposition 50 funds, some of which were used to build the Quincy Wetlands Treatment Project on district land. There is $57,000 left in that grant, which was administered by Plumas Corp.
Wilson said the county’s contract with Plumas Corp. for this project expired Feb. 12, and that Plumas Corp. had not met several of the project requirements, such as biological monitoring.
Additionally, Wilson said the Last Chance pond-and-plug was pulled from the Prop. 50-funded project list, thereby freeing up additional monies that may now be allocated for other projects that meet the grant criteria.
The California Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Fund of 2002, established by Prop. 50, is administered by the state Department of Water Resources and was awarded to the county.
Wilson said the fact that the district serves the wastewater treatment and disposal needs of approximately 25 percent of the county’s population was a big factor in his outreach efforts. He asked the board if it was interested in submitting a proposal to fund additional aspects of the Quincy wetlands project.
The board readily agreed.
“This is the first glimmer of light we’ve had all day,” Churchill said of the possibility of receiving $100,000 or more in additional funds. Wilson proposed a modification of the grant agreement in regard to the QCSD wetlands project.
“The focus is on the CSD and your needs,” Wilson said. “This is ‘you bring us something that we can chew into.’” Wilson said the grant money would go directly to the district, bypassing Plumas Corp. altogether.
When asked for a deadline, Wilson said as soon as possible, but by June 1. Churchill and Sullivan set a date to work on the modified proposal.
Joint committee a success
“I came away walking on a cloud,” Jim Bequette said of his experience meeting with East Quincy board members on the joint wastewater treatment rate committee.
“There is fantastic cooperation right now,” agreed Castaldini, the second committee member from Quincy.
The two agreed that their meeting with East Quincy’s Kathy Felker and Bill Martin went well, and that a formula to establish the rates was approved by all parties.
East Quincy recently reviewed its DUE (dwelling unit equivalent) count, upon which rates are established and billed. Minor adjustments, such as meter size and quantity of DUEs, were made. From now on, Quincy will bill East Quincy for each month’s actual DUE count, as opposed to the yearly DUE count used in previous years.
The next regular board meeting is set for Thursday, April 10.