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Central Coast Blue pursues grants to pay for recycled water project 

Central Coast Blue recently received an $8 million grant from the State Water Resources Control Board to help fund the water sustainability project, lessening the financial impact on local residents.

"We have been aggressively pursuing grant funds for every supply of funding for similar projects that we can," said Geoff English, general manager of Central Coast Blue Regional Recycled Water Authority. "We are encouraged that securing this funding will help reduce the impact of the local share of the cost [for taxpayers] because public infrastructure projects in California are a significant investment and have a financial impact on local ratepayers."

English said the $50 million project, which will treat wastewater from the Five Cities and inject it into the groundwater basin, has received $32 million in grant funding from various organizations and is actively looking for more.

"If we can minimize [financial impact on ratepayers] by securing outside funds, it's a huge benefit for the project, and it's motivating us to continue seeking additional grant funding," English said.

click to enlarge GROUNDWATER INJECTION Central Coast Blue will use an $8 million grant for construction of injection wells that will push purified water back into the groundwater basin. - PHOTO COURTESY OF PISMO BEACH
  • Photo Courtesy Of Pismo Beach
  • GROUNDWATER INJECTION Central Coast Blue will use an $8 million grant for construction of injection wells that will push purified water back into the groundwater basin.

Benjamin Fine, Pismo Beach's director of Public Works and city engineer, said that in addition to the recent dollars, the project's funding includes $15 million from the state's Water Recycling Funding Program, $1 million from the state's Integrated Regional Water Management, and $10 million from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

"State and federal grants reinforce that we are doing the right thing," Fine said. "With the state and federal government helping to pay for the project, it shows that other agencies believe we are doing the right thing for our community."

English said the water board grant will help construct key infrastructure.

"This $8 million was specifically targeted for the [construction] of injection wells," English said. "The project is a groundwater recharge project and there will be injection wells and pipelines for purified water."

He said that Central Coast Blue's purpose is to intercept wastewater that's already treated, purify it, and then inject it back into the groundwater aquifer basin. The purified water will spend months in the groundwater aquifer before it's re-pumped to the surface as drinking water.

Fine said the Central Coast Blue team applied for the $8 million grant in July 2022 and was notified in August 2023 that they would receive funding.

"We anticipate it will take approximately 12 months to get an agreement in place with the state and be able to access that funding," English said. "It's a pretty significant public infrastructure project in the South County of San Luis Obispo, and we're getting some grant funding, moving forward on design, and we want to make the public aware of the project." Δ

Editor’s note: This article has been revised to add images and links.

Readers Poll

Do you think the SLO County Board of Supervisors should have gone against their policy that states funding for independent special districts should not result in a net fiscal loss to the county?

  • A. Yes, the housing and job opportunity the Dana Reserve is bringing is important
  • B. No, it's giving special privileges to the Nipomo Community Services District
  • C. I trust them, they know what's best for the county
  • D. What's going on?

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