Placer County’s effort to update or replace its aging water treatment plan continues to move forward, but according to the local newspaper, that effort is continuing to be characterized as contentious and confusing.

Among the aspects of the plan that calls for the regionalization of waste water treatment that have led to internal strife are costs and control. The latest form that the treatment plant has taken is significantly cheaper than originally designed. In 2007, the plan would have cost $293 million. That price has dropped to $73 million. However, the rate payers are facing large and unequal increase in their rates – which could range from Lincoln, where there is no proposed increase, to North Auburn, where rates would go up $16 per month. Another proposal – from PERC Water – would have decreased rates for ratepayers by as much as $20 per month over the next ten years.

Recently, the County approved a $6 million payment to the plant’s engineers to perform an EIR for the area surrounding the 20-mile pipeline.

Controlling the new regional plant also remains a challenge. One of the scenarios considered would involve a joint powers authority with the County and the Cities of Lincoln and Auburn each taking equal roles in governance. That JPA has yet to be established.

From the Auburn Journal:

Confusion and an adversarial tone seemed to dominate discussions about a proposed $73 million regional sewer plan that could greatly impact rates at a Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting last week.

Yet board members approved another step forward despite unanswered questions.

Read the full article here.