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GRF Board learns more about proposed wastewater treatment plant

By Cathy Tallyn

Staff writer


After learning that the best place in Rossmoor for a $10 million  3,000 square foot water reclamation plant is at the gateway to the community, GRF Board members had questions about location, cost and odor.

This  first in-person meeting of the GRF Board in 15 months on June 24 brought smiles from directors, but it was back to the usual handful of attendees. However, the Zoom audience was still there when it came time to give their opinions during the Residents Forum.

Most of the 3½-hour meeting was spent on the feasibility of building a wastewater recycle facility in the valley.  Wastewater would be diverted from the sanitary sewer lines,  pumped to a treatment plant to  produce non-potable water and then wastes would be pumped back into the sewer system.

With water rates on the rise and faced and the probability of more drought  years, the Board decided in 2018 that a wastewater recycle facility was the best way to ensure Rossmoor had enough water to keep the golf courses alive. An added benefit is the courses with green grass would provide a fire break.

When Rossmoor runs out of its own water supply during the summer, East Bay Municipal Utility District water is used, which is expensive and subject to use restrictions during a drought.

A newly completed feasibility study by Brezack and Associates of Walnut Creek concluded the best spot for the plant was at Golden Rain Road and Rossmoor Parkway.  However,  the site is also home to one of Rossmoor’s last remaining golden rain trees, which would have to be removed.

It would cost at least $10 million to build a plant there with  $256,000 a year for  maintenance and operation. And it could take another  year or two for required permits before construction can start.

Noting that the proposed site is very visible, Jim Brezack said the plant could be made architecturally pleasing.

Director Leanne Hamaji wanted to know about other sites that were considered, in particular  one above Cactus Court, and the size of a treatment plant.

Brezack said eight or nine sites were evaluated in terms of proximity to Tice Creek and current sewer lines. The Cactus Court location is at a former Saklan Indian site, which could present problems, he said.

The best alternate site was at Creekside’s golf maintenance yard, which would cost more for pipelines and the plant. There was no mention of where golf maintenance would be relocated.

The plant would be about 70-feet by 40-feet with a 10-foot perimeter buffer.

Board member Kathleen Stumpfel asked about smells from the plant. “This is something residents would be concerned about,” she added

Brezack said there could be a “musky” smell. “We can’t hide the  fact we’re dealing with wastewater,” he said.

Board President  Dwight Walker asked if state or federal money could help pay the costs.

Brezack recommended GRF “lobby” for funding.  He also suggested the Board take a tour with him of a wastewater treatment plant.

The Board took no action.

In other business, the Board appointed Stumpfel to the Planning Committee. She takes the place of Director Carl Brown, who resigned from the committee.

The Board voted to spend up to $200,000 from the Trust Estate Fund for flooring and walls that must be replaced after a sewer break  in May in the Mutual Operations Department building.

Directors also decided to secure an additional $2 million in insurance for errors and omissions and $3 million for environmental protection.

As recommended by Walker, the Board approved appointments to various Board advisory committees. Each member will serve a three-year term, effective July 1.

The appointments include Aquatics Advisory Committee Vivian Clayton, Catherine Robinson-Walker and Ben Wright; Audit Committee Allen Smith; Finance Committee David Kirkpatrick, Diane Portnoff and F. William Dorband, who will serve the remaining one-year portion of resigning member Jean Autrey’s three-year term, which ends in June 2022; Fitness Center Advisory Committee Alice King and Louis Venegas; and Golf Advisory Committee Teddi Swanson.

Walker also appointed advisory committee chairpersons to a one-year term, effective July 1.  These appointments include Brian Stack, Aquatics Committee; Merek Lipson, Audit Committee; Dorband, Finance Committee; James V. Grizzell, Fitness Center Advisory Committee; and John McDonnell, Golf Advisory Committee.