The Town of Paradise currently relies on over 11,000 individual septic systems to treat and dispose wastewater generated by homes and businesses. The degree and intensity of use for each property in the community is limited to the capacity to safely dispose of wastewater on site. As the town has grown and evolved, the need for a better means of wastewater collection and treatment, particularly in the higher density and use, commercial areas, has become more urgent. This issue has been demonstrated within the town’s more developed downtown and other commercial areas where septic system failures are increasing and available land for replacement leach fields is constrained, or non-existent.
The lack of a sewer system has a twofold impact—both are very important local/regional drivers. The first is an impact on the area’s economy and the second is the impact on the environment.
If the economy in Paradise suffers, the regional economy suffers as well. Even in a healthy economy, many of the businesses in Paradise cannot afford the high cost of septic system repairs or replacement. There are many limitations imposed on businesses that affect their ability to increase their bottom line or create jobs. The creation of jobs provides regional cash flow and the potential for a better quality of life for area residents.
Additionally, a central sewer system would provide more housing options, including multi-family residential units. With the addition of a sewer, parcels that have been unsuitable for multi-family developments due to their wastewater usage would have that option opened to them. This would help the Town in its efforts to provide adequate affordable housing for Paradise families.
The lack of a viable sewer infrastructure is not only a detriment to the local and regional economy, but also poses an environmental threat to water resources– another precious regional resource.
Communities the size and density of Paradise typically have a central sewer system and treatment plant with either a discharge to a stream or an effluent land application area. The challenges of having only individual septic systems for treatment and disposal have been apparent to the Town for 30 years. The problem has been well studied and reviewed. The limitations in treatment and capacity are compounded by local geology and the ability of septic systems to effectively percolate.
FINDING A SOLUTION
The Town of Paradise received a grant from the State Water Resources Control Board to conduct a Sewer Feasibility Study. This study will analyze different options for providing wastewater treatment and conveyance, and the best methods of paying for each option.
Some of the wastewater treatment options include:
- Localized Treatment Plant with effluent land application
- Localized Treatment Plant with effluent discharge to creek
- Regional Connection to the City of Chico
- Localized Treatment Plant with beneficial re-use of effluent for irrigation
- No Project
With economic indicators improving, and the Town’s commercial septic situation continually worsening, the Town has no choice but to consider a wastewater solution for the more densely populated areas within an Initial Proposed Special Assessment District, shown here.
The technical solution for the Town of Paradise Sewer Project may not be new, but the approach to the project will be. The project need, scoping, option development, option screening, preferred option, assessment district formation, and funding analysis all need to be transparent and vetted with the public. This website and the engagement process that follows will accomplish this goal.