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Regional sewer project a go

Three more jobs in Lincoln to be added
By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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A week later, Lincoln Mayor Spencer Short is still excited that a long-awaited regional sewer project is officially moving forward. The Placer County Board of Supervisors voted March 13 to participate in the project with a 3-2 vote, according to Placer County spokesman Mike Fitch. Supervisors Jennifer Montgomery, Robert Weygandt and Jack Duran voted to approve participation in the project, Fitch said. Voting against the project were Supervisors Jim Holmes and Kirk Uhler. The project entails building a pipeline from North Auburn and potentially the city of Auburn and pumping that sewage to Lincoln?s wastewater treatment plant for treatment, according to Fitch. The Auburn City Council ?has taken votes a number of times? about being involved in the project, according to Lincoln city engineer Bruce Burnworth. ?It?s always been that they want to participate,? Burnworth said. ?The issue and concern they have is they need some assistance financially to participate.? Short called the project?s advance ?a huge benefit to the region.? The Board of Supervisor?s decision to go forward with the project seemed uncertain over the past few months, according to previous News Messenger reports. ?A couple of weeks ago, it was tenuous,? Short said Monday. ?People, who had openly questioned the project, once they got into the details, had significant confidence in the project to move it forward.? Short called the supervisors? decision ?a very close vote.? ?I think it was approved because it really is the right project for this time,? Short said. ?By bringing all of the sewer plants together, taking Auburn and Placer County offline, actually protects the environment more and creates an opportunity for greater economy of scale.? Sewer pipelines are cheap to maintain, according to Short, and Lincoln?s wastewater treatment plant will have to increase staffing by only three employees to operate the plant. Those employees will be wastewater treatment plant operators and maintenance technicians, Burnworth said. ?It will take a third more people to treat twice as much sewage so that benefit is shared between the three,? Burnworth said, echoing Short?s statement. Lincoln?s wastewater treatment plant currently treats the sewage of 17,000 households, a figure that will double once the project is complete, according to Short. ?Our plant is phenomenal. It?s not just about the plant being very solidly designed and has had no serious violations but this was always designed as a regional plant,? Short said. The approval of the project also means Lincoln will recover $12 million for over-sizing of the plant and pipeline, according to Short. The regional sewer project will also mean lower wastewater rates for residents in Lincoln, Placer County and Auburn, Short added. The city is beginning to ?prepare environmental review documents? with both Auburn and Placer County, Burnworth said, which will take a year to complete. The documents will be available for public review and comment. ?We expect to have some information out to the public the first part of April,? Burnworth said. ?The purpose of the environmental review document, under the California Environmental Quality Act, is to identify potential environmental impacts associated with the project.? Lincoln public services director Mark Miller said Burnworth ?will be project manager? for the regional sewer project. Burnworth?s contract with the city was extended by City Council on Dec. 13 and expires on March 31. ?My understanding is on the next agenda for City Council will be the extension of my contract,? Burnworth said.