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Uncle Sam to Ripon: Go to Sacramento

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POSTED April 26, 2013 2:03 a.m.

Ripon’s request for $3.5 million in federal funds to tap into the South San Joaquin County Surface Water Treatment plant is taking leaders to Sacramento next week.

South San Joaquin Irrigation District and City of Ripon leaders were told by federal Environmental Protection Agency officials in Washington, D.C., this week that the best place to secure federal money to help with the $5 million project is in Sacramento.

That’s because it was revealed this week that Sacramento has been holding onto $455 million in federal EPA funds for clean water projects for too long. If it isn’t spent within 60 days, Uncle Sam wants it back.

“The problem is Sacramento attached criteria to the money wanting only projects over $20 million that were in rural or impoverished areas,” SSJID General Manager Jeff Shields said.

Shield acknowledged that Ripon wasn’t exactly on the ropes economically but that it did have serious issues with groundwater including nitrates, ammonia and salt. Plus switching to surface water would reduce drafting of underground aquifers that have been dropping over the years.

Ripon and SSJID leaders are hoping to convince state officials that they have a project that’s ready to go so that they don’t have to send all or some of the $455 million back to the federal government.

Ripon is picking up $1.5 million of the cost to bring water from the treatment plant on Dodds Road near the base of the Woodward Reservoir to Manteca.

The plant already serves Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy. Ripon would connect with the main line northwest of Manteca.

The leaders were back in Washington, D.C., as part of the San Joaquin County One Voice lobbying effort.

 

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