About Us

About Us Print E-mail
Thursday, 08 July 2010 00:00

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 Sunday, 19 October 2014 08:22
Newsletter Print E-mail
Friday, 30 November 2012 14:50

Current SSLOCSD Newsletter:

icon Winter 2013 Newsletter

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 08:23
Response to Regional Water Quality Control Board Print E-mail
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 16:28


Press Release: South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Responds to Fine Issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board

Download Press Release



June 20, 2012


South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Responds to Fine Issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board


Contact: Michael Seitz

805 543 7272


The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District is a special district serving the communities of Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano.  The heads of the governing bodies of those agencies sit as the Board of Directors of the Sanitation District.  The District was formed in 1963 and operates a wastewater treatment plant as well as three trunk sewers which are tributary to the treatment plant located near the Oceano Airport.  The plant has a capacity of five million gallons per day (5 MGD) and the current flow is 2.7 MGD. The District has received a notice of a fine from the Regional Water Quality Control Board which the District believes is inaccurate and unjustified.


Following is a statement from the District issued June 20, 2012


The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District is sincerely disappointed that this isolated spill from a December 2010 storm incident could not have been amicably resolved, and vehemently disagrees with the excessive fine being proposed by the Water Board's Prosecution Team that will be charged against its ratepayers.   In December of 2010, a fierce winter storm led to serious flooding in Oceano along with resulting emergency declarations and evacuation orders. This unusual flood event triggered the District’s first sewer spill in more than 25 years. Due to high water entering the electrical system, the pumps in the treatment plant shut down, creating the spill.   Since the incident, the District has implemented a number of improvements to the plant and its protocols to prevent future problems.   While it was anticipated that the Water Board would fine the District for this accidental spill, the excessive dollar amount exceeding $1.3 million is unfair, is based on flawed Water Board calculations and methodology, and is drastically inconsistent with fines levied in other communities for similar types of events.  The District plans to dispute the proposed fine and to appeal to the Regional Water Board to make a more rational and fair decision.


Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 08:52
Contact Us Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 April 2011 07:46

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.


Will customer rates be increased in light of recent budget concerns?

Of the ten public agencies that provide wastewater treatment in San Luis Obispo County the agencies that are served by the District (Arroyo Grande, Grover Beach and Oceano) have the lowest wastewater rates. When comparing against the 18 agencies in Santa Barbara County only two have lower rates.

Historically, the District has been able to keep rates low without significant increases for long periods of time. There are no plans at this time to increase rates beyond any CPI increases outlined in the 2006 rate study. In fact, recent and forthcoming budget cuts are meant to stave off a rate increase. However, given the age of the plant and the need to continue to meet changing regulations, rates could increase at some point in future years.


What cost-savings measures are you considering?

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



Click here to download a PDF version of this document.





Last Updated on Thursday, 04 December 2014 12:10
Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 March 2007 13:32

Service Area

The South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District encompasses a geographic area of 165 square miles. It is located within an area known as the Five Cities area in the southwestern portion of San Luis Obispo County and is located 15 miles south of the City of San Luis Obispo. 


The District provides its services for the residents of the City of Arroyo Grande, the City of Grover Beach and the Oceano Community Services District. In addition, there is a small County population of approximately 50 residences that are not incorporated within the communities listed above who also receive those services offered by the District.


Last Updated on Monday, 27 October 2008 11:50
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