An essential part of rebuilding Paradise is ensuring its stability and growth for years to come. The implementation of a sewer system for the greater downtown area is key to this development. The proposed sewer service area, in planning since the Town’s incorporation in 1979, will allow more businesses to open and support the rebuilding economy, providing a long-term solution for wastewater collection, transport, and treatment.
The Paradise Sewer Project, if approved, could begin construction as early as 2024, with full completion expected in late 2026. Marc Mattox, Public Works Director & Town Engineer, along with Leslie Tice and John Buttz of HDR engineering, shared a few updates on the progress of the project and what to expect for 2022.
How will the sewer positively affect rebuilding in Paradise?
The Sewer Project benefits rebuilding Paradise in many ways: mostly, it will enable businesses to return to the core part of town. Without a sewer system, many businesses are limited in size and scope, preventing growth in what could be a vibrant commercial section of town.
It also allows builders to provide affordable, multi-family housing through higher-density residential developments (such as apartments and housing complexes) on limited parcel sizes.
Further, it allows for a more sustainable redevelopment of Paradise by allowing us to eliminate septic systems that have negatively impacted groundwater and instead collect and treat that wastewater. Doing so removes previous groundwater discharges from septic systems and allows that discharge to be collected and centrally treated to a higher standard.
Which properties will be served?
The proposed sewer service area would be primarily in the downtown area and encompassed by Clark Road, Skyway, and Pearson Road.
The system would use a single pipeline to convey Paradise wastewater down Skyway and across south Chico to the Chico Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP). At the Chico WPCP, Paradise wastewater will blend with Chico wastewater. The combined flow will receive high-level treatment before discharging to the Sacramento River.
How is the Project being managed?
The Town of Paradise is the lead agency for the overall project effort as well as the Environmental Impact Report. A Sewer Regionalization Project Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) has been formed which is composed of members from the Councils of the Town of Paradise and the City of Chico. The Advisory Committee is actively developing draft principles of agreement which could lead to a formal contract between the Town of Paradise and City of Chico for the purposes of governing wastewater treatment services provided by the City to the Town. The Advisory Committee also hears regular updates on the Town’s Environmental Impact Report.
Where is the project in the process now?
Preliminary Environmental studies have been undertaken, and now we are in the process of preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) to outline all potential issues and related mitigations for the construction of the pipeline, pump stations, and pressure lines.
Once the EIR is certified, the process moves on to approvals and permits, then to design, and finally to construction, hopefully starting in the summer of 2024.
What’s an EIR?
An Environmental Impact Report analyzes the potential environmental impacts of constructing and operating a sewer connection from the Town of Paradise to the City of Chico Water Pollution Control Plant.
Why is an EIR important?
The EIR is not only required as a discretionary action, but it is valuable to the progression of the Paradise Sewer Project in that it brings stakeholder perspective into the planning process. It allows full consideration of the project’s benefits and environmental impacts while developing mitigation strategies to offset those impacts found to be potentially significant. It will provide the Town with essential information to determine if and how the project moves forward.
What opportunities remain for the public to be involved?
Get ready! The Draft Environmental Impact Report will present numerous opportunities for public comment and engagement in the first half of 2022. Throughout this process, however, staff remains available at all times to answer questions or take input on the development of the project.
Visit the FAQ page at paradisesewer.com.