The City of Riverside is attempting to force the Jurupa Community Services District to split the cost of a large and expensive upgrade to their wastewater treatment plant, despite an agreement between the two agencies in 1990 that exempts the District from paying for future upgrades. The court case, filed by Riverside, apparently caught the District off guard.

In 2006, Riverside decided to upgrade its traditional wastewater plant to a new, far more expensive, Membrane Bioreactor. The cost was $250 million. Only a few MBR systems of similar size to the one in Riverside exist in the world, servicing needs in Dubai, Oman, and Las Vegas.

“The Cost of this facility is like buying an expensive Ferrari with taxpayer dollars rather than a Chevy truck that can do the same job,” said JCSD Board President Robert Craig in a statement.

And the district points to the 1990 agreement to show that there is “no legal basis to force these extravagant and unnecessary costs on our collective communities.”

That agreement excluded both the JCSD and the Rubidoux Community Services District from paying for upgrades, but did make them responsible for their share of ongoing operation and maintenance costs. The agreement was a way to consolidate municipal wastewater treatment.

Despite that agreement, Riverside as asked for $31 million from the Rubidoux and Edgemont CSDs to pay for their share. When Riverside filed a lawsuit to force the issue, it limited negotiation options with the JCSD.

The JCSD board of directors sent the City of Riverside a letter, asking them to end the litigation. However, should Riverside pursue the issue through the Courts, then the JCSD is prepared to fight in the claim.