Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services (EHS) is funding a Focused Feasibility Study that evaluates water treatment options and develops cost estimates for a small plant that meets Groundwater Management Plan requirements.

A third party environmental consultant, AECOM, is conducting this study. The study is “agency neutral,” meaning it looks only at the infrastructure feasibility of a small local wastewater treatment package plant for Los Olivos, not the best organization to build or manage that plant.

This study will provide property owners and all public agencies the impartial facts needed to base future construction, management, service and financial commitment decisions. The feasibility study is on track to be complete this summer.

A Special District Feasibility Study and Plan for Service (to be complete in September) will quantify the initial construction and recurring operational costs of a water reclamation system, and is also underway. This study, conducted by Berkson Associates, examines a variety of governance options, including:

• Forming a County-dependent County Service Area (CSA)
• Establishing a single function Los Olivos Community Services District (CSD)
• Annexation to Santa Ynez CSD
• Service provided by Santa Ynez River Water Conservation District 1


County Approach to Short-Term Individual Septic Failures

We’ve been assured by County EHS staff that based on the good progress we are making as a community toward a workable wastewater management solution, they have no plans to take a hard line with individual property owners who, despite their best efforts, may experience a septic system failure during this interim period. The County is open to working with property owners on an individual basis to come up with cost-effective, short-term solutions that bridge the gap as we move to a long-term, community-based management solution that complies with the County’s Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems Local Area Management Plan (LAMP).

Potential Grant Funding Sources for Wastewater Planning and Construction

Our team continues to research and educate ourselves about potential grant funding resources. We recently met with State Water Resources Board staff in Sacramento to discuss funding options for the planning, entity formation, construction and operation of a future Los Olivos wastewater management system. The Special District Feasibility Study and Plan for Service will also address possible funding scenarios as part of its analysis.


Santa Ynez CSD Annexation/Local Area Formation Commission (LAFCO) Update

Santa Ynez CSD has applied to LAFCO to bring the entire community of Los Olivos into its sphere of influence; doing this is the first step in the annexation process. At its June 2 meeting, LAFCO directed staff to defer action on the Los Olivos application until the end of 2016, given that the two feasibility studies will soon be complete and the community will then have an opportunity to discuss its options and preferred path forward.


Get Involved, Stay Informed

If you agree the current feasibility studies will give us the facts we need to make an informed decision about our wastewater management, get involved today. The more residents who participate and stay informed, the more productive our community dialog will be as we move toward a solution.