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Super flush: One treatment plant for Ripon, Lathrop & Manteca sewer?

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POSTED May 17, 2013 1:53 a.m.

Manteca, Ripon and Lathrop could become more than just neighboring communities at least when it comes to wastewater.

Manteca municipal officials anticipate one of the next major directives from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board will be a push to eliminate the proliferation of smaller treatment plants in favor of larger, regional facilities.

It was a point made earlier this month during a Manteca City Council discussion of remaining capacity at the municipal wastewater treatment plant just to the north of the Big League Dreams sports complex.

Manteca Public Works Director Mark Houghton noted the water quality board is not wild about having a bunch of smaller treatment plants within a region. It is one of the reasons why Oakwood Shores - a gated residential development that ultimately may have 480 homes where Manteca Waterslides once stood - is currently negotiating to annex to Manteca. The regional board has capped the number of homes that Lafferty Homes may build without connecting to a municipal treatment plant. The state will not allow a simple expansion of the current small plant serving the gated community and a nearby mobile home park

A regional approach to wastewater treatment produces economies of scale and a higher concentration of expertise. It also makes it easier for monitoring since it reduces the number of treatment plants. A similar approach in South Placer County saw the combination of treatment plants in Roseville with those that served neighboring Rocklin, Loomis, and Granite Bay.

 Lathrop already has a partnership with Manteca that provides that city with 14.7 percent of the overall capacity of the treatment plant. The discussion the council had regarding regionalization is an outgrowth of Lathrop’s request to borrow sewer capacity against a future expansion of the plant to meet the demands of growth in their community. Lathrop also has a separate treatment plant in the Crossroads Business Park.

While regionalization hasn’t been brought up with Ripon or Lathrop officials, Houghton believes any move toward such a treatment approach would bunch the two cities together with Manteca.

A municipal staff analysis of the Manteca treatment facility indicates there is enough capacity at current consumption and growth rates that additional capacity would not be needed until between 2030 and 2034. And that includes providing connections to 13,485 proposed housing units in various stages of the planning pipeline as well as three large business parks, commercial, and schools.

The first chance the state agency would get the opportunity to push for regionalization is when the Manteca facility comes up for relicensing in the next few years.

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