According to the general manager of Cambria’s services district, the town’s water department staff will start pumping excess brine from the Sustainable Water Facility’s storage pond into an adjacent percolation pond as soon as the CCSD receives permission from a state water board.
The pond is more formally described as an “impoundment basin,” and is designed to contain the brine that is the residual from the filtering-and-treatment processes at the facility. The plant and the pond are on the Cambria Community Services District’s property on San Simeon Creek Road.
General Manager Jerry Gruber said in an email Saturday, Feb. 18, that he anticipates that permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board will be in hand midday Tuesday.
In his instructions to staff, he said, “Please make sure that we do not start pumping until we get permission from the water board. Also it is imperative that all aspects of our pumping activities are properly logged. This includes but (is) not limited to when we start the pump, gallons per minute being pumped, characteristics of the impoundment basin (in other words, does the pond look different as we continue pumping), when we shut the pump down, what pond we are pumping to and periodic impoundment-basin levels throughout the day.”
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The district is supposed to maintain a certain amount of “freeboard,” or space between the surface of the water in the pond and the top of the pond, to keep brine from spilling over onto the surrounding land and possibly draining into San Simeon Creek and its lagoon.
With recent heavy rainfall, the district hasn’t been able to maintain that safety gap. District staff anticipates that pumping the excess into a nearby percolation pond will lower the brine level in the storage pond and bring the district’s operation back into compliance.
Gruber said in his email, “We are working with Rain for Rent on providing us a portable pump and yellow mining pipe. We will set the pump up on the bank of the pond, run pipe along the outside of our property and down our road. This will result in a few hundred feet more of pipe,” but Gruber considers it to be the best, least complicated available option.
We are working with Rain for Rent on providing us a portable pump and yellow mining pipe. We will set the pump up on the bank of the pond, run pipe along the outside of our property and down our road.
Jerry Gruber, Cambria Community Services District general manager
Jon Rokke, RWQCB water resources control engineer, went to the pond site during the driving rain and wind Friday, walking the area with district engineer Bob Gresens. In his email later to Gruber and others, Rokke wrote, “We agreed that the district can put water drawn from the surface of the brine pond into the nearest perc pond that is not currently receiving effluent from the wastewater treatment plant.”
Rokke said “Bob was doing yeoman’s work defending the brine pond from more flooding and all his efforts were paying off.”