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McKinleyville residents may see an increase in water bills

The Wastewater Management Facility in McKinleyville is expected to undergo a multi-million dollar upgrade. A new permit requires the removal of ammonia and nitrogen from the current plant adjacent to Hiller Park. The General Manager of the McKinleyville Community Services District, Gregory Orsini said, “If we don’t make those modifications to our Wastewater Management Facility the potential for fines will increase with the new regulations and those finds are mandatory minimum of 3,000 dollars.”

The next permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board is coming up in April of next year so changes are in the works. Right now, the facility has about 27 acres of lagoons or waste treatment ponds that treat water for irrigation. The upcoming permit, however now requires a higher level of treatment. 

Orsini said, “The total cost for design, permitting and planning for the wastewater management facility will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 to 17 million dollars.” The 2% loan from the state revolving fund will be paid through rates and capacity fees. Those within the sewer service area pay sewer on their water bill and will see an increase. Orsini goes on to say, “The average will be somewhere less than 8 dollars per customer per month.” The current facility has been in operation since 1984 but the new plant will be faster and much more efficient but at an added cost. “Everybody sort of understands why their not happy that their rates are going to be going up but they understand the necessity for it and the alternative to this is not favorable for the services district nor them as customer.”

The McKinleyville Community Services District will now have to prove the rates need to be adjusted. Community members can comment on the new facility at a meeting in April.