Fifth District Supervisor Ted Williams attended last Monday night’s Fair Board meeting at the Boonville Fairgrounds where the Community Services District board presented a preliminary layout for use of the Fairgrounds back lot as the “disposal field” for processed and de-odorized effluent from the proposed wastewater system the CSD is working on for downtown Boonville.
An area of about 100 feet by 300 feet would be excavated and used for underground dispersal of treated effluent beneath the area now used occasionally for parking and camping during fair events; the specific location has not yet been finalized.
The fairgrounds backlot came onto the radar after a few local worryworts objected to the previously proposed Boonville airport area for disposal despite the engineers’ assurances that the processed wastewater is not raw sewage and doesn’t smell much.
But the main concern expressed by fair board members Monday night was not the smell, but whether the ground under the parking/camping area would “perc.” As CSD Board member Larry Mailliard quipped, “If it won’t perc, it won’t work.”
If it does perc, the engineers say that most of the area will still be usable for parking and camping since the effluent will be at least three feet underground — the main above-ground space will be for a smaller pre-fab treatment plant, perhaps 50 x 100 feet, plus an underground “equalization” or surge buffer tank.
The fair board was also concerned about road access to the area since the old road behind the fairgrounds is an unmaintained and well-worn old county road which might not hold up under heavy truck and system maintenance traffic.
CSD Board Chair Valerie Hanelt pointed out that state grants will cover the construction cost and the community will only have to cover the operation and maintenance costs via hookup fees which have yet to be calculated but which must be low because downtown Boonville is considered to be an economically depressed area.
The grant-funded engineering outfit is current working on the perc question which will also be discussed further when the CSD will discuss the project further with Mendocino Building and Planning staff in Ukiah on August 26.
After that there’s still the full range of public meetings and environmental and permit reviews and ultimately a parcel-by-parcel vote by parcel owners in the service area that would follow — if it percs. If all that were to happen according to the current plan, the system could be operational by 2023.