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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 18th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 20, Issue 27

Solvang shops around for better deal on waste water

By William D'Urso

The city of Solvang is looking to upgrade its waste water system, but it wants the best deal. With a handful of alternatives available, it’s seeking out another one with the Santa Ynez Community Services District (CSD).

Solvang City Council was scheduled to vote on a plan Aug. 26 but pushed the date until it has more information about what kinds of options are available. The city has a population of 6,000 people who would be on the hook for a major expense if it went through with one of its current plans. The price tag could be upward of $16 million. The city said it wants to make sure that’s the best option before it writes a check.

The proposal the Solvang City Council opted to send to the CSD ran through the basics: To manage the 400 manholes the city has, the 169,000 linear feet of sewer line, and the various waste policies that Solvang wants observed.

Santa Ynez CSD held a special meeting on Friday to discuss Solvang’s proposal. They were interested, but ultimately decided to send CSD General Manager Jeff Hodge back to get more details about what Solvang wants.

“I think the more important thing is opening up that dialogue,” Hodge said. “Is there potential for saving through economies of scale? Potentially. Potentially not.”

Santa Ynez charges $74 per connection, which, Hodge said, is included as part of property taxes. Santa Ynez also manages a little less than 800 waste water connections, fewer than half that of Solvang.

If the two sides did agree to work together, it would build on an existing relationship they have with Solvang’s current waste water setup.

“We’ve been a 20 percent owner of the capacity at Solvang since the early ’80s,” Hodge said.

He thinks the relationship would also include running Solvang’s waste water treatment facility, but that’s part of what the two sides have to hash out. The CSD has also been managing the treatment facility on the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians reservation. Hodge said that relationship goes back to when it was built 15 years ago.

Hodge’s next step is to meet with City Manager David Gassaway to learn more about what Solvang is looking for.

“[The CSD’s] motion was to go back to Solvang and ask them exactly what they’re looking for,” Hodge said. 

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