Paradise Sewer Project

The Town of Paradise is advancing the Paradise Sewer Project.  In 2020, the Town contracted with HDR Engineering to prepare an updated assessment of project options.   A summary of the results of the 2020 efforts by HDR Engineering is available here.  These results were presented to the Paradise Town Council on December 8, 2020 (click here to watch the presentation).

  • Click here for the letter of support from the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board related to the December 8, 2020 presentation.
  • Click here to watch a presentation of the same results to the Chico City Council on February 2, 2021.

In 2021, the Town is moving forward with preparation of a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to provide further information on sewer project alternatives.

Project Background

Since its incorporation in 1979, the Town of Paradise has sought a formal wastewater treatment solution for various zones and boundaries. All of these solutions focused primarily on commercial and densely-populated residential areas – the portions of Paradise most vulnerable to groundwater degradation and economic stagnation due to sewer limitations.

Professional studies from industry experts in every decade since 1980 have been completed and all essentially come to the same conclusion: the Town is running out of time. It is inevitable that the continual degradation of groundwater quality and exceedance of soil capacities to absorb and treat high volumes of wastewater will require action on behalf of the Town and its constituents.

On April 12, 2016, Town Council awarded a contract to Bennett Engineering to analyze the Town’s wastewater challenge and draft an Alternatives Analysis and Feasibility Report.  The report analyzed several options, including a no project option, and recommended the most feasible solution and next steps.

On July 11, 2017, the Sewer Feasibility Study was formally accepted by the Town Council. Subsequently, staff was directed to continue to seek funding for the preliminary engineering and environmental review of both the Regional City of Chico option and a Local Treatment Plant option.

In the post-Camp Fire reality, on September 10, 2019, the Town Council concurred with the staff’s recommendation to proceed with releasing a Request for Proposal for preliminary engineering and environmental services for the Paradise Sewer Project.

Through the efforts of staff and members of Town leadership, grant funding was awarded to the Town for the sewer project for a portion of the Environmental Review phase of the project.  The funds include $800,000 from the State of California and $172,000 from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

On January 14, 2020, the Paradise Town Council awarded a contract to HDR Engineering for the Environmental Review phase of the project, segmented into two distinct phases: Pre-EIR/Feasibility Review (completed in 2020) and a complete Environmental Impact Report (on-going). This contract was partially funded through the grants identified above and it was understood staff would seek and secure additional grant funding to complete the contract work.

On May 12, 2020, the Paradise Town Council adopted a resolution authorizing staff to submit a supplemental grant application for approximately $2,000,000 to fully complete the second phase of HDR’s scope of work (preparation of an EIR). This grant application has been approved through the State Water Board Division of Financial Assistance to advance the regional option through the EIR phase.

Next Steps

In its 2020 report, HDR Engineering recommended that the Paradise Sewer Project move forward with a regional approach for a direct connection to the City of Chico’s Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP). On December 8, 2020, Staff recommended this approach and the Paradise Town Council voted unanimously to move forward with Staff’s recommendation and present this information to the City of Chico.

To address concerns relating to multi-jurisdictional coordination, the State Water Resources Control Board proposed convening a Brown-Act compliant (fully noticed, public participation, etc.) committee with equal representation from Town of Paradise and City of Chico elected officials (two each). This committee would facilitate discussions on progress of the EIR and prepare Principles of Agreement for a potential regional wastewater connection agreement. On December 8, 2020, the Paradise Town Council appointed the Mayor and Vice Mayor to sit on this committee, now termed the Sewer Regionalization Project Advisory Committee (SRPAC).

On February 2, 2021, the Chico City Council voted unanimously to enter into a cooperative work agreement with the Town of Paradise to study the potential regional connection to the Chico WPCP. The Chico City Council also appointed their Mayor and Vice Mayor to sit on the SRPAC.  It is anticipated that the SRPAC will hold its initial meeting in March 2021.

HDR Engineering is proceeding with preparation of the Project EIR, with a target completion date in mid- to late-2022.