Improvements are Coming to the Arcata Wastewater Treatment Facility

Arcata, Calif. (KIEM)- The California Coastal Commission has approved the city of Arcata’s proposed upgrades to their wastewater treatment facility. 

The current infrastructure is from the 80s and in need of major improvements. This will be one of the largest infrastructure projects the city of Arcata has undertaken in recent years and officials are confident it will greatly benefit the community. 

The project has been in the works for over a decade. officials saying that the city’s coastal location has prevented the large-scale improvements from moving forward as fast as they would like. 

We talked to the Director of Environmental Services for the city of Arcata, Emily Sinkhorn, about the proposed improvement plan. 

“I think with any big capital improvement project, you know, it’s going to take a long time to accomplish that. And the city began in earnest designing for this treatment plant rehabilitation about a dozen years ago,” said Sinkhorn. “For a project of this scale in the coastal zone, it does take a lot of time and a lot of steps to get there. And so I think we are right on track.”

The aging infrastructure of the facility continues to operate thanks to ongoing maintenance, but the city wants to make major upgrades instead of small fixes.

Sinkhorn goes on to say that, “A big component is switching our disinfection system and so we have been disinfecting with chlorine and so we’re switching to ultraviolet light.” 

The previous system of chlorine disinfection has proved to cause some issues. Many of the water quality violations that the city has previously received were due to the use of chlorine as a disinfectant. 

“We’re also upgrading a lot of our pipes and infrastructure that is from the 1980s and has been working well up to this point, but it’s really in need of upgrading,” said Sinkhorn. “And so while we’re rehabilitating our existing plant, we’re also continuing to plan for decades in the future.”

The improvements are expected to take two and half to three years, with construction hopefully beginning in the late fall.

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