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Lathrop looks to expand its sewer capacity
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When it comes to providing the necessary infrastructure to allow development, the most crucial element is often the most overlooked.
Where is the water going to go when the toilet gets flushed ?
That’s a question that the City of Lathrop is hoping to answer for the foreseeable future next week when the city council considers certifying and adopting the Sewer System Management Plan that will provide guidance and a framework for a city that’s expected to grow significantly in the coming decades.
With nearly 12,000 new homes scheduled to be built in River Islands alone – spurring a population increase that would easily double the city’s existing population – and several other large developments consisting of thousands of combined homes, the necessary sewer capacity and who is in charge of maintaining it will become a clear priority as the city maneuvers through its largest period of concentrated, sustained growth in its nearly 30-year history.
And Lathrop isn’t going to have to rely solely on its own treatment plant in order to meet the growing capacity.
Lathrop has taken a unique approach in making sure that the necessary sewer capacity to service that growth will be in place as it is needed.
Through the funding of developers that needed a set amount of sewer capacity to allow construction of massive projects – River Islands chief among them – the city allowed private funding for the construction of the city’s wastewater treatment plant with an agreement that those funding the construction would be guaranteed a certain amount of capacity when it was needed, and that the modular system that was chosen for construction would allow for capacity to added when necessary. Any expansion will be paid for by the entity that will be utilizing it, and it will be up to those entities to make available any additional capacity not needed to those who are not part of the construction agreement.
The City of Lathrop ran into a tense legal exchange with a local independent builder several years ago who wanted guaranteed sewer capacity to be able to complete an apartment project. When no capacity was available they accused the city of playing favorites with larger developers who were guaranteed said capacity – not taking into account that those developers built the facility that treats the wastewater in the first place.
In the event that the city needs to look elsewhere in order to handle an increase in treated wastewater, the city has an agreement with the City of Manteca to utilize up to 14.7 percent of the wastewater treatment capacity at the Manteca facility. It is a last-resort measure that should be seamless as Lathrop has adopted a pretreatment program, sewer ordinance, and local limits that “are at least as stringent as the City of Manteca’s.”
The new management plan will be the latest in a series of governing documents that the city has brought for council approval over the last 12 months as the city braces for a construction boom.
The Lathrop City Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive – starting at 7 p.m. For additional information, or to obtain a copy of the sewer system management plan, visit

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.