Los Osos sewer on the horizon

Construction of the Los Osos sewer system could begin as soon as September 2011.

Under the current timeline, work on the project would begin in March 2012. However, county supervisors have the option of speeding up the process and beginning work six months earlier.

Sewer project managers will update the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday about the status and ask whether they want to pursue the accelerated schedule. At that meeting, they also hope to know whether the county will get $80 million in federal stimulus funding, which would reduce the financial burden on Los Osos property owners.

“They will be finalizing it up right about then,” said John Waddell, project engineer of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the funds. “They have to get their end of it done by the end of the month.”

The state Coastal Commission gave the project its final regulatory approval a little over a month ago. Now, county public works officials are mapping out their activities in the coming months leading up to actually breaking ground on the $166 million infrastructure project.

Starting the project next year instead of in 2012 could have some cost savings, Waddell wrote in his report to supervisors.

“Obtaining bids sooner, as opposed to later, is generally desirable because the current bidding environment on construction contracts is very competitive, and cost savings are being realized locally and throughout the state,” he wrote.

The Los Osos sewer item is scheduled to be discussed soon after the supervisors’ lunch break. The public will have the opportunity to comment.

The Los Osos sewer project calls for the installation of an entire sewage collection, treatment and disposal system serving the nearly 15,000 residents of Los Osos/Baywood Park. The sewer will replace thousands of septic systems that are blamed for nitrate and bacteria pollution in ground and surface water.

Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.