The Cambrian

With election coming up, what issues face San Simeon services district?

The San Simeon district services homes and businesses in about 100 acres that straddles a scenic, approximately mile-long stretch of Highway 1. The basic service area is a rectangle from Balboa Street to Jasper Street in San Simeon. Hearst Castle also treats its waste in the district’s sewage-treatment plant.

The district’s water supply is an ongoing problem, and a water-shortage-triggered building moratorium has been in place since April 1988.

SSCSD is under “stage-two” water conservation rules as of Sept. 26. That means: no potable SSCSD water can be used to irrigate vegetation; filling/refilling or adding water to a pool, spa, etc., is limited to the amount needed to keep it operative and refill for evaporation; restaurants can only serve SSCSD water to customers if those customers specifically request it.

Stage 1 restrictions, which remain in effect, include: prohibition of using SSCSD water to wash vehicles, boats, mobile homes and other types of mobile equipment; limiting use of water from fire hydrants to firefighting and health, safety and welfare uses; no washing down sidewalks, driveways, parking areas, buildings or other structures, except to alleviate immediate fire or sanitation hazards; and no selling/use of SSCSD water outside the district limits.

A series of rate increases put in place in 2009 have helped equalize the district’s budget and “to keep the district from going broke,” according to General Manager Charles Grace, and allowed it to begin setting aside reserve funds to be used for emergencies and projects.

During the past six years, the district has spent $237,884.19 on a small-scale recycled water project mandated by state water quality regulators, after treated effluent from the sewage-treatment plant didn’t meet California standards. According to staff, total cost of project equipment and installation was $208,000.

Treated effluent from the plant flows into the ocean through an outfall pipe. In 2004 and 2005, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board fined the district a total of $168,000, but allowed the district to set aside about $150,000 of those fines to apply toward the treatment project.

The new recycled-water project, currently undergoing final testing, is to produce a purer effluent from the district’s wastewater. It’s designed to make waste disposal safer and reuse of the highly treated effluent feasible, for instance on landscaping.

The district also is preparing construction bid packages for a USDA grant loan to help rehabilitate San Simeon’s wells, and for the past seven years has been negotiating with the California Coastal Commission about after-the-fact permitting for rip rap placed along the shoreline, as early as in 1969 and since then, to secure the outfall.

According to staff, among the district’s primary challenges are creating a distribution system for the reclaimed water, finding a new water source and keeping streets repaired.

Dee Dee Ricci is the board chairwoman. Ralph McAdams, appointed to fill Terry Lambeth’s term when he resigned, is serving as vice chairman. Continuing directors, who ran unopposed in August and are to be appointed in lieu of election, are Alan Fields and Leroy Price. Candidate Daniel Morris Williams also ran unopposed and is to be appointed.

McAdams is running for election to the remaining two years of Lambeth’s term. Running against him is Mary Giacoletti, the current environmental representative for the North Coast Advisory Council.

San Simeon Community Services District: By the numbers

2012-2013 budget: Income, $742,447. Expenses, $632,721.

Area the district serves: About 100 acres

Services: Water, sewage treatment, maintenance of frontage and side roads, lighting, weed abatement and other services.

District management and administration: The APTwater company. General Manager Charles Grace; Administrator Renee Lundy Samaniego; Plant Superintendent Jerry Copeland.

Management fee: SSCSD pays APTwater $ 38,360.45 a month to operate the district. Directors are paid: $100 a month.

Customers: According to the 2010 Census, San Simeon has 452 residents. SSCSD records show the district serves 161 residential accounts, six commercial accounts and 35 lodgings (motels, inns, etc., although some motels have multiple accounts). There are six restaurants and a dozen irrigation accounts. There are seven properties on a wait list for those who want to build on their land.

For more information: Call 927-4778 or go to

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