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Concerns Raised Over Potential Copperopolis Biosolids Composting Facility

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Copperopolis, CA – Community members expressed frustration and concerns at two community meetings recently regarding the possibility of a biosolids composting facility in Copperopolis, and now the Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) wants to set the record straight.

The facility would be stationed at the district’s wastewater treatment plant in Copperopolis. In an effort to address and respond to the community’s concerns, CCWD wants to make sure the correct facts get out. District officials are responding to several worries brought up by meeting attendees. Those include that the project would create dangerous traffic conditions, generate unpleasant odors in their neighborhoods, decrease property values, or undermine the rural nature of Copperopolis.

“CCWD would oppose a project with those outcomes,” stated district officials, adding, “To pursue such a project would be contrary to the District’s mission and core values.”

The district also noted that the Copperopolis site is just one of several sites in the county that are “being evaluated for suitability to develop a biosolids composting facility.”

Regarding a recent hearing held by the Calaveras County Planning Commission to determine whether a biosolids composting facility could be allowed on a parcel zoned for public service (“PS”), district officials say while the property is zoned that, no project-specific approval was at issue and no project applications have been submitted. They also noted, “Any such project on CCWD property would have to be approved by CCWD before it would be considered by the County. In this case, the CCWD Board of Directors has not even discussed approval of such a project.”

Currently, biosolids are trucked to a facility in Suisun City because there are no local facilities designed to handle the material in the county. CCWD advocates that a facility could be a positive addition to the county if it is appropriately located and the environmental and traffic impacts are mitigated.

CCWD gave these reasons for considering a facility, stating, “Modern biosolids composting facilities do not generate offsite odors, they create good local jobs, produce high-quality compost for gardening and agricultural use, and they reduce costs for local wastewater agencies, including CCWD.” But they conveyed that “any proposed site will first be carefully and publicly evaluated for potential negative impacts to the community.”

The district had this message for the public, “We appreciate the engagement from the community on this issue and look forward to future opportunities to provide accurate and complete information regarding this issue and any other project in the area.”