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Regional sewer facility cost-efficient

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During these difficult times there has been a cry for government entities to become more efficient and resourceful in how they use the taxpayers’ precious dollars. Locally, one clear opportunity to engage this practice is through the regional sewer facility that is currently being debated by the (Placer County) Board of Supervisors and the City of Auburn. With ever-increasing water quality requirements and release restrictions by the state, individual sewer treatment plants are finding it very difficult to comply with these higher standards. Upgrading and retrofitting these plants is extremely expensive. There is no choice but to pass these costs on to the already over-burdened ratepayers on their sewer bills. By combining resources and achieving economies of scale, a regional approach is the most practical way of addressing the growing cost of meeting the conditions set by the state. When the requirements are not met, severe fines are levied, which is currently happening at some of the plants in Placer County. The state is aware of the difficulty that the standards are creating for these facilities and that is why they are strong proponents of communities collaborating on wastewater treatment. The City of Lincoln has a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant that has won a number of awards for the quality of its operations and has the capacity to accommodate the greater Auburn community. The needed pipeline to the plant is partially completed (up to Sierra College Boulevard). Obviously, there is a cost to completing the line, but it is a long-term investment that will have clear benefits for both the taxpayers and the environment. The Auburn area is at a critical crossroad. The City of Auburn will not go along with the regional plan unless Placer County is a partner in the effort. As an alternative, Placer County is considering upgrading the North Auburn sewer facility, which will cost $63 million. If this is done, the county will not participate and the regional concept dies. The community only has one shot at bringing together the proficiencies to deal with the challenges of processing wastewater. If this regional approach fails, I am confident that not too far into the future communities will look back on this decision with deep and profound regret as they are swamped by the cost of compliance at their individual plants. On Dec. 6 the board of supervisors will decide if they are going to be a part of regionalizing wastewater processing. I would strongly encourage you to contact the board members or attend the meeting and tell them you support the efficiencies of a regional concept. WAYNE NADER, Auburn