Morro Bay officials to consider bids for sewer plant repairs

nwilson@thetribunenews.comFebruary 12, 2014 

The wastewater treatment plant in Morro Bay, shown in 2006.


As the city of Morro Bay moves forward with plans to build a new sewage treatment plant at an inland location, it will consider two bids Thursday totaling more than $400,000 for repairs to its existing plant by the ocean.

Along with the Cayucos Sanitary District, the city shares ownership of the sewer plant at 160 Atascadero Road near the beach and Morro Creek.

At a Morro Bay/Cayucos Sanitary District Joint Powers Agreement meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, the city and sanitary district will consider bids on two upgrades:

  • A $316,280 bid by Vulcan Industries of Missouri Valley, Iowa, to install new influent screens that act as a filter in the treatment process.
  • A $98,920 bid by Cor-Ray Painting Co. of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., for a sandblasting and coating of the system’s digester system, which helps break down biodegradable materials.

For this fiscal year, the joint agencies have budgeted about $1 million for sewer-related repairs and upgrades, of which they spent about $350,000 through Dec. 31, according to a staff report by acting city manager Susan Slayton.

The fixes to the plant will help satisfy state permitting standards, as the new facility isn’t expected to open for seven to 10 years.

A budget of about $1 million per year has been set aside for repairs to ensure quality treatment at the aging facility until the new plant is built. The plant was built in the 1950s, and the last major upgrade was done in 1983.

The screen project has a timeline for completion in August while the work on the coating is scheduled to be done in March or April.

The facility serves a population of about 13,300. Costs are divided with Morro Bay covering about 75 percent and Cayucos about 25 percent.

The system has an average flow of more than 1 million gallons of sewage per day, according to the city’s website.

Ongoing projects at the beachside plant have included replacing pipe valves, reroofing the chlorine building, and rebuilding filtration pumps. The plant currently discharges treated wastewater into the ocean.

Last year, the Coastal Commission denied a permit application for a significant upgrade to the plant, citing local coastal plan zoning inconsistencies and failure to avoid coastal hazards.

Commission staff said its proximity to the ocean and creek makes it susceptible to flooding and tsunamis.

One of the goals of building a new plant is to fully treat the wastewater and then reuse as much of reclaimed water as possible.

Morro Bay’s City Council decided in December that a site called Morro Valley would be its top choice for a new sewage treatment plant.

The site consists of two parcels totaling 446 acres east of the city along the north side of Highway 41. The estimated construction cost is $100 million.

The city is still in the process of final site evaluation including whether a facility at the California Men’s Colony would make sense, said Rob Livick, the city’s public services director.

Livick also said the Cayucos Sanitation District is still deciding on whether to participate in the building of the new plant. An announcement on that could come at Thursday’s meeting, he said.

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