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New Times / News

The following article was posted on March 13th, 2013, in the New Times - Volume 27, Issue 33 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [] - Volume 27, Issue 33

Morro Bay seeks a 'reclamation facility' consultant


The Morro Bay-Cayucos Sanitation District joint project for a new wastewater treatment plant has turned over a new leaf.

Morro Bay officials aren’t wasting any time in getting the ball rolling, voting on March 12 to find a new consultant and set specific benchmarks for 2013.

In a unanimous vote, the council decided to solicit proposals from industry professionals for services related to selecting a new location for the plant.

According to Public Works Director Rob Livick, the city will advertise for the contract on the city website and professional job sites, will notify planning associations, and will advertise in local newspapers.

“We’ll be casting a very wide net so that we find that perfect candidate,” Livick said.

He noted that the process isn’t simply a request for bids; the city will select candidates based primarily on their qualifications and experience, and then negotiate a fee based on what the city can afford.

The council also elected to form a selection committee, to be led by Mayor Jamie Irons and Councilwoman Christine Johnson.

According to a staff report, the city hopes to select a candidate by summer.

To drive home the seriousness of their resolve, the council also set some pretty big benchmarks to meet by December 2013, including no less than selecting an alternative location for the new plant and to have their facility master planning, which lays the foundation for plant design, “well under way.”

The California Coastal Commission flung the death hammer at the old project—which entailed building a new facility in the current location—by denying the project in January.

And, perhaps symbolically, reflecting the new direction the city is moving with the project, staff decided to now refer to the plant as the “water reclamation facility” (WRF), as Livick said “wastewater treatment plant” is a somewhat outdated term.