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Northern Branch Jail site

A sewer lift station located on the property where the Northern Branch Jail is under construction, as seen in this photo from early June, will be owned and operated by the Laguna County Sanitation District. The county is proposing to assess the jail property for funds to reimburse the district for operating and maintaining the lift station.

A public hearing is set for Nov. 6 on a proposal to create an improvement district within the Laguna County Sanitation District to pay the costs of maintenance and operation of a sewer lift station to serve the Northern Branch Jail under construction west of Santa Maria.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, which also serves as the board of directors for the Sanitation District, set the hearing Tuesday for the proposed Improvement District No. 2 that would consist solely of the property where the new jail is located.

Wastewater treatment for the jail will be provided by the Laguna Wastewater Reclamation Plant, but gravity flow to the facility is not possible due to topography, so a lift station will be required to pump the wastewater.

Because of the complexity of the system, the county asked the district to own and operate the lift station, which the district will do provided the cost is covered by the jail.

An assessment through an improvement district will provide the funding mechanism to assure the cost is covered.

Based on an engineer’s report, the jail property initially will be assessed $91,697 per year for operation of the lift station.

Any future development around the jail that benefits from the lift station will be expected to contribute funds to expanding the facility, if necessary, and pay a share of the operation and maintenance costs, according to the staff report.

In addition to processing wastewater from the Northern Branch Jail, the Laguna facility will send treated effluent back to the jail for such nonpotable uses as landscape irrigation.

The Northern Branch Jail is under construction at the corner of Betteravia and Black roads and expected to be placed into service in spring 2019.

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