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Hughson can grow with new sewer plant
Hughson sewer pic
Hughson Mayor Ramon Bawanan yields a giant ceremonial pair of scissors to conduct the ribbon cutting of the $15 million wastewater treatment plants. Gathered around him are members of the Hughson City Council and city staff members. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER / The Journal

Hughson city officials are proud of their new sewer plant.

Formally dedicated on April 21, the new $15 million wastewater treatment plant doubles the capacity of the former plant to 1.9 million gallons per day.

“It’s going to handle us into the foreseeable future,” said Tom Clark, Community Development director for the city of approximately 6,400 residents.

The new plant, located at 6700 Leedom Road (next to the old plant), is sized for a population of 15,000 which is anticipated at build-out of the general plan, as well as some growth to the city’s industrial and commercial base.

Hughson is one of the few cities in the county where residential building is taking place. Fontana Ranch subdivision is under construction in the eastern section of Hughson while Florsheim Home's Valley Glen subdivision is being constructed in west Hughson.

“In calendar year 2011 I believe we had 34 new houses built,” said Clark.”For these times, it’s not bad.”

The city also has approved tentative subdivision maps for about 100 homes in two housing projects on Euclid Avenue. Another 50 or so homes await construction as part of the Feather Glen subdivision off of Seventh Street.

The plant took two years to plan and build.

“Our sewer plant before was antiquated and actually operating under an order from the state to fix the old plant,” said Clark. “And we were at capacity.”

The city purchased 40 acres next to the former plant and is using existing percolation ponds.

The new plant is state of the art, said Clark.

“Our plant doesn’t smell,” he added. “It’s bright and shiny and new and works so well.”

The plant uses an oxidation ditch which features two large stainless steel propellers to push wastewater into a deep canal where it is scrubbed with oxygen, micro-organisms and clarifiers. The treated water is then allowed to percolate into the groundwater table.

“We’re actually cleaning the ground water. The water we are putting in the ground is substantially cleaner than what’s in the ground.”

Monitoring wells have been placed around the plant to keep tabs on water quality and check for any level of contamination.

The plant has been an expensive undertaking. The city set aside some funds and will collect developer fees on new development. But to help pay the debt service on the 1 percent interest loan from the State of California Revolving Fund, sewer rates were increased. Sewer rates are presently $69 per month now and will rise to $82 in July.

The former plant will lay abandoned for now, said Clark, with no immediate plans for demolition.