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Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2016 10:58
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The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District is proud of its plant and the Staff who operate it. Through Staff innovations, the plant is able to run effectively and efficiently everyday, resulting in high-quality wastewater treatment. The District maintains a great working relationship with the EPA, State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards and has the reputation and record for meeting its wastewater discharge requirements. This again stems solely from the exceptional Staff that works at the plant every day offering their expertise and knowledge of wastewater treatment.

District Staff are not only exceptional operators at the plant, but the District also hires employees who can perform a variety of skilled tasks.

These tasks include:

  • welding,
  • electrical work,
  • fabrication of parts, and
  • other cost-reducing and plant-enhancing activities.

The District is specifically responsible for nearly nine (9) miles of trunk main and sewer lines from the Cities of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach, and the Oceano Community Services District. District employees are on duty protecting your health and safety by ensuring that the sewer system operates efficiently 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. The District remains cognizant of three basic principles when approaching a new technology that may improve plant effectiveness:

  1. The District avoids unnecessary costs by empowering Staff to be creative and innovative in solutions to problems.
  2. The District avoids unnecessary costs by maintaining the physical plant on a regular basis, completing projects as needed and proactively, before further maintenance might be required.
  3. The District has adopted purchasing policies and procedures that are reviewed during each budget cycle. These policies provide for the competitive bidding procedures and establish purchasing thresholds for buying equipment, supplies and services.

Specifically, this approach has allowed costs to its customers to remain minimal. A few of the innovations that the District has been instrumental in improving plant efficiency and keep costs down are:

Back in the 1960s, the treatment plant site was somewhat restricted and without possibilities of future expansion. One space-saving concept was to construct one integrated secondary process element that could be duplicated three more times in the future as capacity was needed. The integrated unit was a 65-foot-diameter secondary clarifier surrounded by four aeration tanks, all within an 80-foot-diameter circle. The system was an Inka aeration system, which saved space, but also, because of the extensive use of common walls, proved to be quite inexpensive to construct. This system was not typically used in the 1960’s and it provided “cutting edge” technology at a reasonable price.

Another innovation added to the original wastewater treatment plant was the construction of a primary and secondary digester, both within a single tank 70 feet in diameter. The center compartment was separated by a 50-foot-diameter steel dividing wall which provided a primary digester tank, with the circular, annular compartment becoming a secondary digester. The center, primary digester was provided with a Pirovortx mixing system, which at the time was one of the earliest such mixing systems in use. This system, which Kennedy/Jenks Consultants invented and had patents on, has proved to be probably the most effective of any digester mixing system. As plant flow capacity began to exceed its limitations, the plant decided to change its process from that of activated sludge to a fixed film reactor (trickling filter or FFR). This new technology allowed the plant to expand to twice its capacity and meet the local Regional Water Quality Control Board and EPA standards with ease. The results of this innovative technology resulted in an energy savings of 50% and effectiveness of BOD/SS reductions far beyond what the planted hoped to achieve.

Today, the treatment plant has in place a cogeneration unit. This unit utilizes brown and yellow grease to create energy and utilizes a substance once thought to be unrecyclable (brown grease). The cogeneration process helps to subsidize the costs of running the plant up to 20% and reduces the amount of wastes which would otherwise be brought to a landfill. This technology reduces operating costs while protecting our environment from harmful greenhouse gasses.

By solving today's challenges using new technologies, the District is capable of continuing its long history of meeting its water pollution control objectives and its waste discharge requirements.The District continues to learn from its past and continues to move forward with today’s innovations which are based upon sound science and engineering.  This brings solutions to the challenges we face concerning the best technology for wastewater treatment which will carry us into the future.

We are very proud of the job we do and take pride in providing our customers with quality service and sound technology.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 December 2015 16:20
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For additional information please contact:

Amy Simpson

P.O. Box 339

Oceano, CA   93475

Phone:            805-489-6670

Fax:                 805-489-2765

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 June 2015 13:21
FAQ Print E-mail
Thursday, 14 October 2010 10:43

Frequently Asked Questions


How does the SSLOCSD ensure the safety of our water?

The District operates under permits issued by the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board. These permits establish stringent requirements that the District must meet in terms of water quality for all wastewater that leaves the plant and enters the ocean. Rigorous testing is conducted that ranges from hourly testing to annual testing to confirm that the plant is meeting its discharge requirements. Monthly compliance reports are submitted to the Water Board confirming the plant’s performance. In fact a link to the Water Board’s site to review the District’s permits is available on the District’s website.



What is The District doing to prepare for the expected heavy rainfall and possible flooding from El Nino condition?

First of all we should point out that the District only receives water from a sanitary sewer system. This means that there should be very little, if any, storm water runoff that enters the sewer system that feeds the wastewater treatment plant. Simply stated, storm water should not have a significant impact on treatment plant flows when the sewers are properly sealed.

At the Plant we test our emergency equipment on a regular basis. For example, the emergency generator is test run two times each month and the emergency back up pump is test run twice a month. We have replaced three of the four headworks (influent)pumps within the past three years. Each of the new pumps have a pumping capacity of five million gallons per day(5 Mgd). We have rebuilt the pump section of the emergency back up generator. The pumping capacity for this pump is 10 Mgd. We have developed a valve exercise program to make sure that all plant valves work as needed. We have inspected the Plants on site collections system. We have tested all sump pumps.

In the sewer system we have inspected all of our manholes to ensure that they are properly sealed and secured. We have trained our Staff on Emergency Operational Procedures in the case of storms and flooding.


What has the District done to reduce costs?

The District has recently reevaluated it's procedures and processes. Over the last two years we have been able to reduce chemical cost by nearly 33%($100,000)annually,  we have reduced WDR/SSMP administrative cost by over $140,000 annually, we have reduced District Administration cost by $70,000 annually, by installing a dual gas boiler we have reduced natural gas expenses by $24,000 annually, as a result of efficient safety practices our insurance premiums have been reduced, and we have reduced the cost of temporary labor by over $50,000. We have also installed VFDs on various pump motors for more efficient electrical usage.


Why was the District issued a Notice of Violation (N.O.V.) by the Water Board in July 2010?

The NOV focused on two main areas: (1) the need to better maintain and organize the required operational and maintenance documents, and (2) the District’s water sampling methodologies needed to be better documented to meet the Water Board’s requirements.


What is the District doing in response to the N.O.V.?

The District has been diligently working with the Water Board since May 2010 to resolve the issues raised in the N.O.V.


How do I obtain copies of records from the SSLOCSD?

Please note that complete Board agendas, minutes and staff reports are now posted on the District’s website. If you wish more specific information, please fill out the records request form that is posted on the District’s website. This will help District staff to meet your request in a timely manner.


How do I contact the District with questions or concerns?

Please contact Amy Simpson, District Secretary at (805) 481-6903, or John Clemons, District Administrator at (805) 489-6670 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2016 10:48

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