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Ripley’s believe it or not 

“It was ranked atop the previous study, which is interesting,� Ripley Pacific engineer Bahman Sheikh commented with a grimace at a July 7 sewer solutions meeting in Los Osos.
 

click to enlarge BROKEN GROUND :  Los Osos citizens protested when the pre-recall CSD board ceremonially broke ground at Tri-W. Now, an engineering firm puts that site at the bottom of the list for a sewer location. - FILE PHOTO
  • FILE PHOTO
  • BROKEN GROUND : Los Osos citizens protested when the pre-recall CSD board ceremonially broke ground at Tri-W. Now, an engineering firm puts that site at the bottom of the list for a sewer location.
# The “it� referred to Tri-W, a candidate site for the treatment facility in a now county-helmed Los Osos sewer project, and an enduring thorn in the side of many downtown residents. The latest analysis, conducted by Ripley Pacific, cited Tri-W dead last in a 16-point review of nine remaining candidate sites. A similar review forged under the pre-recall Los Osos Community Services District (CSD) board had rated Tri-W the ideal site for the treatment facility.
 
In light of this earlier study, the body forged ahead last fall, using $6.4 million of a State Revolving Funds (SRF) loan, issued by the state water board, to break ground on the project. The new CSD representatives halted the construction and the SRF funding ran dry. Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, R-SLO, drafted a plan in the spring to transfer the contentious project over to the county, with the CSD maintaining a degree of control.
 
The 16 factors that dropped Tri-W into the cellar in the updated study include topography, land area, current use, neighboring uses, accessibility, prevailing wind, seismic and flood potential, viewshed impacts, and proximity to residents. Tri-W received high marks for groundwater conditions, topography, and availability (the pre-recall CSD already purchased the site), but scored poorly in virtually every community-impact criteria.
 
The Giacomazzi Parcel, a piece of farmland on the eastern edge of town, topped Ripley’s list.
 
Engineers with Ripley Pacific also promoted a pressurized “effluent� collection system, which they claimed would ultimately prove cheaper to maintain than the traditional gravity system due to a notable reduction in flow. Unlike gravity collection, effluent systems only draw sewage from homes and not alternate sources like service manholes. Ripley Pacific engineers claimed that the hefty expense of swapping out the tanks would eventually be nullified by lower sustainability costs.
 
The solutions presentation came one day after the regular CSD meeting, at which a representative with Blakeslee’s office fielded questions on the proposed assembly bill that would transfer control to the county. When asked if she could simply strike Tri-W as a candidate site in the bill, she responded that certain legislative entanglements prevent such a maneuver. ∆

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