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Placer County celebrated an important milestone Friday in its efforts to develop a modern regional sewer system that complies with new, more stringent federal and state standards; reduces impacts on foothill steams; and capitalizes on economies of scale.

About 50 people were on hand for a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4928 Auburn Folsom Road in the Horseshoe Bar area near Loomis – a site where, until recently, an aging wastewater treatment plant served the county’s Sewer Maintenance District 3 as it had for 52 years. 

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Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes addressed the gathering, thanking staff for its outstanding work on the project and recognizing state and federal agencies for their support and participation. 

“Many improvements and upgrades have been performed at the plant over the years, in order to comply with the increasingly stringent wastewater treatment standards,” he said.  “Continuing to upgrade the plant would have required a major expansion which was neither feasible nor frugal, due to both site constraints and a potentially significant rate increase to our customers.”

The treatment plant was decommissioned recently after construction was completed on a new pump station and 2 1/2 miles of new sewer pipeline that allow wastewater from the district’s approximately 1,500 residents to be treated at the City of Roseville’s Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Completed on time and under its $14.5 million budget in December 2014, with the help of a $4 million reimbursement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and a $9.7 million loan from the State Water Resources Control Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, the newly constructed pipeline has brought the county into compliance with permit requirements from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board with no increase to sewer rates.

On hand for Friday’s ceremony were representatives from agencies that worked with Placer County on the project: USACE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, Regional Water Quality Control Board and City of Roseville.

“The Army Corps of Engineers are the nation’s environmental engineers – taking care of the environment is a big part of everything we do,” said Tambour Eller, the Corps’ Sacramento District deputy district engineer for project management. “This project is a great example of how different levels of government can work together to make the most efficient use of our resources and get things done that matter to all of us.”

“U.S. EPA’s financial support to the state revolving fund helps address critical infrastructure needs, protect our waters and save communities money,” said Mike Montgomery, Assistant Water Division Director of EPA’s Pacific Southwest region.

The project’s benefits include:

  • Allowing the county to close the old wastewater treatment plant;
  • Eliminating discharges of treated wastewater into nearby Miners Ravine, which will return to its natural state;
  • Bringing the district into compliance with new, more stringent state and federal wastewater discharge requirements; and
  • Providing the county and ratepayers with a cost-effective way to maintain compliance if discharge requirements become more stringent in the future.

The Horseshoe Bar project is one of several the county has undertaken to comply with federal and state wastewater quality regulations, reduce water-quality impacts on foothill steams and capitalize on economies of scale.

The largest, the Midwestern Placer Regional Sewer Project, currently is under construction and is scheduled to be operational this summer. It will allow wastewater from North Auburn to be pumped through an underground pipeline for treatment at the City of Lincoln Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Facility.

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