SLO County Roundup


Between 160,000 and 180,000 gallons of partially treated sewage was released Wednesday into the ocean at Oceano Beach.

The release occurred after the chlorination system at the South San Luis Obispo County sewage treatment plant failed. Chlorination systems are used to decontaminate effluent before it is discharged.

The spill occurred between 4 and 7:30 a.m. The partially treated effluent entered the ocean via the plant’s discharge pipe 4,000 feet offshore in 60 feet of water. The release stopped when the chlorination system was restored.

County environmental health officials have posted warning signs at access points along the Oceano Beach area. They also took samples of ocean water to determine if the spill caused unhealthy bacteria levels.

The warning signs will stay in place until testing shows the water at Oceano Beach meets state safety standards.

This is the second sewage spill in the county in as many days. On Tuesday, 100 gallons of sewage spilled into Stenner Creek in San Luis Obispo due to a blocked sewage line.

— David Sneed

North County

Motorists traveling in both directions on Highway 46 East will be detoured onto the newly built lanes between Airport and Geneseo roads starting Friday.

The $30 million project, expected to be complete late this year, is contracted to Papich Construction of Pismo Beach.

The detour will allow crews to continue rebuilding the two existing lanes along the highway and constructing two wildlife crossings along with several drainage systems, according to Caltrans.

Electronic message boards will be posted to alert motorists of the detour. All county road and driveway connections will remain open to cross traffic during the detour.

— Tonya Strickland

Cal Poly

The university joined seven other California colleges on the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list as a “best value” public college for 2009-10.

It was the only college in the California State University system to make the cut, and it ranked 50th on the national list.

Other California colleges on the list are UC San Diego (11th), UCLA (13th), UC Berkeley (18th), UC Irvine (20th), UC Santa Barbara (29th), UC Davis (41st) and UC Santa Cruz (68th).

Kiplinger’s noted that many of the colleges had slashed costs and raised tuition and fees more than the past average of 5 percent per year. Students at Cal Poly and in the UC system will be paying 30 percent more in tuition in fall 2010 than entering freshman in 2009.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was named the best overall value.

— Sacramento Bee

SLO County

The Food Bank Coalition and Central Coast United for Change are working together to sponsor the second annual food drive as part of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Volunteers countywide will go door-to-door Saturday delivering bags and fliers requesting food donations, and they will return Monday to pick up donations.

Last year more than 25,000 pounds of food and $4,000 was collected by the food bank, which distributed the donations to local residents.

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to participate.

— Amy Dempsey