The Cambrian

EIR for Cambria water plant has been delayed

Services district directors Thursday, Aug. 25, will again consider lifting a suspension on at least one outstanding intent-to-serve letter for water service in Cambria, and discuss the town’s Stage 3 water emergency status.

Cambria Community Services District directors had been set to consider those issues at the agency’s June meeting, but delayed them in part so they’d have a better handle two months later on the town’s post-summertime water supply, upcoming “tracer” water-flow test on the sustainable water facility and the long-awaited environmental impact report (EIR) that’s a crucial element for the permit to convert the facility from an emergency project to one that could operate at any time.

The board is to meet at 4 p.m., a different time than usual, at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main St.

District water staffers and some contractors have been preparing the sustainable water facility to be turned on Sept. 1. The two-month tracer test, due to start in September, will track how long it takes for treated water from the plant to travel to two district supply wells. In the district’s first such test, in 2014, the treated water arrived at one well a few days earlier than the two-month minimum.

The district was told recently that the draft environmental study will not be complete before the meeting, and may not be ready by the end of the month, so that the public and regulatory agencies can review it.

The delay has angered at least one director.

Without warning, we were told last week that the draft EIR won’t be ready until Sept. 19. I find this completely unacceptable.

Greg Sanders, CCSD director

Greg Sanders, who is on the board’s EIR committee, answered an emailed question Tuesday, Aug. 23. He said that Michael Baker International, the contractor that is doing the draft EIR, had promised to deliver the document for public comment by mid- to late August.

“Without warning, we were told last week that the draft EIR won’t be ready until Sept. 19. I find this completely unacceptable. We want a good work product delivered on time, not excuses. We’ll be in constant contact with the vendor until the draft EIR is ready for public distribution.”

District General Manager Jerry Gruber wrote in his report for the Aug. 25 meeting that the “slight schedule modification” was needed so staff could “comment and coordinate changes” to the document, and to accommodate vacation schedules with the contractor.

He also noted in his report that “the Fiscalini Tank Replacement project is well underway, with the demolition (of the old tank) scheduled to take place within the next 11 days.”

After the district approved a Stage 3 water emergency declaration, no new water connections were to be approved. Some projects were already in the planning “pipeline,” however, and the board will consider allowing one of those projects to proceed.

Staff is recommending that the board approve allowing a project at 660 Evelyn Court to proceed, but that the board not lift the Stage 3 water emergency status. According to the item’s staff report, that project is the only one on the list that’s ready to connect to district services.

For other agenda items, see Page 14 or go to