The Cambrian

CCSD looks to pump out excess brine from pond

The Cambria Community Services District is supposed to maintain a certain amount of space between the surface of the water in the pond and the top of the brine pond, seen here, to keep brine from spilling over onto the surrounding land. With recent heavy rainfall, the district hasn’t been able to maintain that safety gap.
The Cambria Community Services District is supposed to maintain a certain amount of space between the surface of the water in the pond and the top of the brine pond, seen here, to keep brine from spilling over onto the surrounding land. With recent heavy rainfall, the district hasn’t been able to maintain that safety gap.

According to a Saturday, Feb. 18, email from General Manager Jerry Gruber, the town’s water department staff was to start pumping excess brine from the Sustainable Water Facility’s storage pond into an adjacent percolation pond as soon as the community services district receives permission from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Gruber anticipated he’d have that permit by midweek.

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 prevent having brine spill 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.

That’s just one of the challenges facing Cambria’s services district in the midst of a series of strong winter storms. Also this week, CCSD officers and staff:

▪  Continued responding regularly to requirements of the state Regional Water Quality Control Board, which has formally informed the district it did and was violating some reporting and operational regulations. Those responses included daily email reports and other updates, including storm-related ones.

▪  Temporarily closed several forested and other trails on the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve (the middle trail remained closed Tuesday, Feb. 21, due to flooding), as well as trails in other areas.

▪  Dealt with downed trees and runoff-eroded land in the preserve and other areas.

▪  Negotiated and finalized a brine-disposal contract from South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District for brine.

Ratepayers and others can learn about that and more at the Cambria Community Services District Board of Directors’ meeting that starts at 12:30 p.m. today (Thursday, Feb. 23) in the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.

On the agenda: A formal public hearing to adopt revised fire codes; swear in new SAFER firefighter Aaron Hunt; reconsider extending the suspended enforcement of surcharges/penalties related to water conservation measures; and additional funding for Michael Baker International for support on the environmental impact report for the Sustainable Water Facility. Details: www.cambriacsd.org.

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