Despite the diligence of the District's maintenance program, overflows do still occur. Culprits include: diapers and other hygiene products that should not have been flushed down the toilet; fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that should not have been poured down the drain; and construction debris introduced into the collection system. In short, overflows are usually preventable. Overflow cleanup is costly and has the potential to introduce pathogens into the environment. If an overflow reaches a storm drain or watershed, the District is required to report the incident to environmental agencies, raising the potential for fines or litigation (under provisions of the Clean Water Act) by environmental watchdog groups. In fact, the District recently settled (for $17,000) with such a group whose cause of action was based simply on the fact that overflows had occurred.
If a blockage occurs in the sanitary sewer system, sewage will rise through a manhole and overflow to the surrounding area. However, if your house plumbing is below the level of the overflowing manhole, the sewage can backup through your house side sewer lateral and enter your home through your plumbing drains. Backflow prevention devices are designed to prevent sewage from entering your home and are mandated by building code as well as District ordinance. When the need for a backflow prevention device is overlooked or ignored, the consequences can be devastating.
With cost estimates approaching $600,000, limited storage capacity and a lengthy payback period (40+ years), a program to deliver "Title 22" recycled water to the community-at-large is difficult to justify even if funds were available. Undaunted however, the District is pursuing opportunities with individual home-owners where their proximity to its facilities makes it feasible.
Although the main plant is located in a south-facing, "solar-power sweet spot," the District's facilities are without sufficient roof-area or adjacent real-estate for the installation of photovoltaic panels to make a meaningful contribution to its energy needs. However, through its participation in PG&E's demand reduction programs and through the use of the methane gas that is a byproduct of operations, the District was able to reduce its utility costs by 1.5% over the previous year.
Sanitary District No. 5 will be performing smoke testing of its collections system on September 28, 2009 and will continue testing through September 30, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Smoke testing of sanitary sewer collection systems was initiated in 1961 at McPherson, Kansas.
The Environmental Protection Agency endorses smoke testing as a way to identify where infiltration of storm water into the collection system, may be occurring. (Usually roof drains or storm drains plumbed to the collection system.) Smoke testing uses no explosive material and will leave no visible residue.
The District will start testing in the Belvedere Zone along the following streets. Lower Beach Road, all of San Rafael Ave, Leeward, Windward, Edgewater, Lagoon Road andPeninsula Road.
During the testing period, do not be alarmed if you see smoke emanating from a storm or roof drain.
Please contact the District Office at 435-1501 if you have any question or concerns.
Paradise Cove's new self-contained wastewater treatment plant is slated for delivery and installation in June and will replace an existing plant that is currently twenty years older than it's projected twenty year service life. The new 'plant' is actually two plants that will operate in tandem, increasing capacity, reducing the load on any single plant and also facilitating regular preventative maintenance. One plant can stay on-line while the other is undergoing maintenance.
Kudos to the District's staff for keeping the existing Paradise Cove plant operational and incident-free for over forty years!
The engineering firm responsible for installation of the new plant had planned to use a helicopter to deliver the equipment, but our ever vigilant District Manager, Bob Lynch, convinced them that he could have it delivered by barge at significantly less expense and without the disturbance to the neighborhood that the helicopters would have created. This saved the District between $60,000 and $80,000.