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Woodacre and San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Group
Woodacre and San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Group  

Our Background

For several years the Woodacre and San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Group has been working with the Marin County Environmental Health Division and Questa Engineering to consider options to address failing and substandard septic systems on the "flats" or valley floor of our villages.

Initially a project of the Tomales Bay Watershed Council, in 2007 our group formed the Woodacre Flats Wastewater Group, to investigate the problem of failing systems in Woodacre and lead a community process to consider a solution. We benefited from water quality monitoring and a free an anonymous septic system inspection program, which confirmed that we have failing systems and polluted creeks.

We also looked at the highly successful Marshall Wastewater Project, which with support from the County built a "STEP" system in 2008 and formed an assessment district and Wastewater Disposal Zone to manage its system. By working together and acquiring grants, the Marshall project was able to cut property owners' costs for construction in half and to provide financing for their contribution. Marshall property owners voted to assess themselves to pay for their portion of the project. The project is considered to be a model across the State and a second phase adding 22 homes to the project is under construction in Summer of 2015.

After considerable community discussion as well as fundraising on the part of the Flats Wastewater Group and County, in 2011 the County contracted with Questa Engineering to carry out the Woodacre Flats Feasibility Study. The study encompassed an area of 158 homes on the Woodacre Flats, and found several viable options for a community wastewater system.

These alternatives in the 2011 Feasibility Study include:

• No project
• Repair or replacement of onsite wastewater systems
• A "STEP" system adjacent to Fire Road (owned by MMWD) on the north ridge of Woodacre, limited to 150 homes.
• A recycled wastewater plant and irrigation system at the San Geronimo Golf Course, potentially expandable to serve up to 300 homes. (The San Geronimo Golf Course has expressed a strong interest in the project and has set aside land for a retention pond for treated water, as well as identifying a site for a treatment plant.)

When we realized that the recycled water plant alternative would serve up to 300 homes, we decided to reach out to neighbors who might be interested in joining the project, and a strong response was received, so the project study area has been expanded to include the upper Woodacre and San Geronimo Flats. See the study area map. In 2012 our group expanded to include representatives of the expanded area and renamed the organization as the Woodacre & San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Group, aka, the Flats Wastewater Group.

Participation in the project will be voluntary, and the cost of the project will be paid by participating property owners, and we hope, state grants, as was done in Marshall.

Throughout this process we have held two dozen community meetings, and have met with other Valley organizations to share information and receive input. We have conducted two community surveys. Over a period of 7 years we have considered in depth various community issues which are described in more depth in our FAQs and reports page.

In the study area and want to join us by petitioning? Follow these instructions.

Next steps:
No decision has been made on a particular project or alternative. There are two important next steps that must be taken to help us decide, as a community, which alternative is best, and whether we are willing to pay for it through an assessment: The first is to carry out supplemental feasibility work to better define the expansion of the project to the upper Woodacre Flats and San Geronimo. A grant application has been submitted to fund the supplemental feasibility study. Once funded, a community meeting will kick the study off.

After the supplemental feasibility study, our next step will be to carry out an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The EIR is fully funded, and will be managed by the County, and will provide analysis of potential impacts and recommend a preferred alternative. An EIR will lay essential groundwork for both grant funding and a community vote on an assessment. Without it, we cannot go forward.

Study Costs Contributions
Supplemental Feasibility Study $89,000
State Recycled Water Fund Requested - $75,000
County of Marin In kind - $14,000
EIR $201,000
County of Marin Funded - $105,000
In kind - $8,000
Marin Municipal Water District Funded - $50,000
Community fundraising Funded - $38,000
Total $290,000 Total $290,000

List of supporters for Feasibility Study and EIR:

Our deepest gratitude go to people or groups who have expressed their support for the County's application for funding from the State Water Resources Control Board for the Supplemental Feasibility Study!

Congressman Jared Huffman
Senator Mike McGuire
Assemblymember Marc Levine
The Woodacre & San Geronimo Flats Wastewater Group
The San Geronimo Valley Stewards
Dickson Ranch
The San Geronimo Golf Course
Creekside Equestrian Facility
Niz Brown
Al Baylacq

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