San Mateo, California is working out the details of what is projected to be a $900 million effort to repair hundreds of miles of water and sewer pipeline.
The San Mateo Daily Journal reports that the city is moving forth with the project after pressure from the state government, which is concerned about environmental safety in that region. The plan is expected to take over 20 years to complete, and will include building more water treatment plants in addition to repairing aged pipelines.
In order to pay for the project, the San Mateo City Council is considering raising sewer rates, which it believes could generate $27 million during the next fiscal year. Over the next two years, sewer rates could go up by 10%, meaning that the current sewer rate of $58.80 per month for an average single-family house would go up to $64.64.
The project will serve not only San Mateo but the residents of nearby Foster City, Hillsborough, Crystal Springs, and other parts of the San Francisco Bay area. Foster City itself will contribute approximately $116 million to the project.
“It’s crucial to the health of the San Francisco Bay, it’s crucial to maintaining our high quality of life in San Mateo, to ensure that we are properly preventing any health issues related to sanitary sewers and it’s also a benefit to our economy to have good infrastructure,” said San Mateo Senior Engineer Cathi Zammit.
Though the project will take decades, it was prompted by several requests from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. Specifically, the board issued a cease and desist order to San Mateo in 2009, after millions of gallons of sewage managed to seep into the San Francisco Bay.
Some of the sewage pipes were installed more than 100 years ago, leading many in the city to consider the project an urgent necessity. Pipes older than 40 years are prime candidates for replacement.
Major focus will be placed on improving current water treatment plants as well as building new ones.