The community of San Simeon has been plagued with seasonal water-quality issues for more than 30 years, but the end of at least some of those woes may be in sight, according to Charles Grace, manager of the town’s services district. A moratorium on new water connections has been in place since 1988.
Grace said in a Dec. 29 email interview that the San Simeon Community Services District’s groundwater treatment project would use reverse-osmosis technology to reduce the levels of chlorides and other total dissolved solids, bringing those to acceptable levels, according to the state Division of Drinking Water’s so-called “secondary standards.”
Construction on the project began in late November, and Grace anticipates that, weather permitting, it will be complete in March.
Grace explained how the project will work.
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“The water will be pumped from the underground aquifer, as it currently is today, using the existing, recently renovated, groundwater wells.”
When necessary, such as when chloride levels get too high, as they have in the past, “the water will be diverted and pass through a reverse-osmosis unit to significantly reduce chloride and total dissolved solids.”
Once the treatment process is complete, the treated water goes into the storage reservoir and from there to the distribution system.
The district is paying for the project with at least one grant, but more likely two of them:
▪ An outright grant (not a loan) for $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
▪ An expected grant from the Division of Drinking Water’s Integrated Regional Water Management program.
Grace said the district doesn’t yet know what the latter grant amount will be but has been told informally that it could be about 75 percent of the $489,600 that SSCSD requested in its application.
“We’ve been told by IRWM representatives that there is good news on the horizon, and we will know more next month.”
About that moratorium: Grace said, “While we are optimistic about the future, issues such as the community's ability to store water need to be evaluated when considering the existing moratorium.”
In other words, stay tuned.