The Cambrian

New Army commander to oversee Corps work on Cambria desal

Col. Mark Toy
Col. Mark Toy

Col. Mark Toy is the new man in charge of the Los Angeles District of the Army Corps of Engineers, including its role in Cambria’s desalination planning and construction.

He took command of the Corps district on July 1, assuming the post from Col. Thomas Magness, who has deployed to Afghanistan.

Toy, a 1987 West Point graduate from Huntington Beach, holds three masters degrees and is a registered professional engineer.

He led the 84th Engineer Battalion for two years, spending one of those years in Iraq with his unit of more than 900 soldiers, sailors and airmen.

Toy met in Los Angeles July 19 with Greg Sanders, president of the Cambria Community Services District’s board of directors, and Tammy Rudock, the district’s general manager.

Building the desalination plant would be a joint project between the Corps and the services district.

After the meeting, Sanders said Toy had “reiterated that the Corps is fully committed to the project, and they’re putting the pedal to the metal” to get it done. Sanders and Rudock plan to give a report on that meeting at the monthly district board meeting beginning at 12:30 p.m. today, July 22. (See related story, Page 5.)

Sometime soon after Labor Day, a Corps’-hired contractor is to start testing the quality and quantity of water that would be available from beach wells just south of the mouth of Santa Rosa Creek. The “geotech” testing is to be done under Corps control. The initial work period, expected to last about two weeks, can’t begin before Sept. 1 and must be complete by Oct. 31, according to a California Coastal Commission condition.

LandWatch San Luis Obispo County has filed a lawsuit asking for a judicial injunction to block the testing regime until the Corps offers more extensive environmental studies of the testing and the desalination project and those studies are reviewed by the county and Coastal Commission.

Sanders said the board is to discuss the suit in closed session today, July 22.