ESTERO BAY NEWS | December 1 through December 15, 2022 | Current Edition

Vistra Battery Project Meeting Went Well

Representatives with Texas-based Vistra Energy are pleased with how a recent public meeting to discuss and explain the company’s proposed Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) facility went, though they were met by some citizens opposed to the project.

Vistra has proposed building a 600-megawatt lithium-ion BESS on 22 acres of its Morro Bay Power Plant property, redeveloping a site on the 117-acre property that used to be a fuel oil storage tank farm. The tanks were removed in 2011 by then plant owner, Dynegy, which subsequently merged with Vistra.

Vistra closed the 1950s-60s-era natural gas, boiler plant in 2014 and after unsuccessfully trying to sell the property for several years, has now proposed the BESS, in line with the State’s clean energy goals. /https://esterobaynews.com/featured-stories/vistra-battery-project-meeting-went-well/

ESTERO BAY NEWS | October 8 through October 22, 2020 |

Documents referenced in OPEN LETTER re:  WRF size — are found through the following URLs.
       …the new WRF has two separate units for treating incoming sewage and each one has the capacity to process 8.14 million gallons a day.1 https://www.morrobayca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/12476/Filanc–Black–Veatch-DB-Contract—Exhibit-B–Scope-of-Work-with-Attachments  (Enter search for: 8.14.)
       …plans the City submitted to the Coastal Commission say “The Project includes construction of a new one million gallons per day (mgd) advanced treatment facility …”.2  https://morrobaywrf.com/wp-content/uploads/ConstructionPlan.pdf  (See page 2 section 2.)
       …funding agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency… states that the money is for “Design and construction of 0.97 million gallons per day (MGD) WRF [that] will provide preliminary, secondary, tertiary, and advanced treatment.”3  https://morrobaywrf.com/wp-content/uploads/Credit-Agreement-Water-System-Execution-Version.pdf  (Search for MGD.)
       …Environmental Impact Report for the project says that “The WRF would treat a maximum peak daily flow of 2.75 million gallons per day (MGD) …”4  https://morrobaywrf.com/wp-content/uploads/Draft-Environmental-Impact-Report-EIR-March-2018.pdf  (See page 2-6.)
       …City’s website tells ratepayers that “The project includes construction of a new one million gallon per day advanced treatment facility …”.5  http://morrobaywrf.com/about-the-project/project-overview/
Documents referenced in OPEN LETTER re:  Estuary — are found through the following URLs.
       …the new sewage treatment…be built on an unstable hillside on the bank of a stream that flows directly into the Morro Bay National Estuary. This hillside is unstable and has the potential for landsliding. Storm water flowing in this stream could lead to erosion, mud flows, and stream bank instability.1  http://www.morrobayca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/11644/WRF-Draft-EIR—Appendix-E-Geotech-Report?bidId=  (See pages 12 and 13.)
       …project plans show that the water reclamation involves delivery, transfer, storage, and use of chemicals including sulfuric acid, liquid ammonium sulfate, sodium hypochlorite, antiscalant, citric acid, polymer, sodium bisulfite, and sodium hydroxide.2 https://morrobaywrf.com/wp-content/uploads/Water-Reclamation-Facility-Basis-of-Design-Report-May-2019.pdf   (See pages 4-22 and 4-44.)
       …Runoff from the hillside and runoff from the sewer plant will be dumped into this stream.3 https://morrobaywrf.com/wp-content/uploads/Water-Reclamation-Facility-Basis-of-Design-Report-May-2019.pdf  (See pages 5-1 and 5-2 “Hillside Drainage and Plant Site Drainage”.)
       …Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project, which excluded the Estuary, as seen in the red line diagram that also concealed the stream that flows into the Estuary.4 http://www.morrobayca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/11644/WRF-Draft-EIR—Appendix-E-Geotech-Report?bidId=  (See pages 12 and 13.)


THE TRIBUNE — January  04, 2020 | LOCAL | Article

Los Osos facing 5 years of sewer ratehikes — and bills of nearly $200 a month


THE TRIBUNE — November 14, 2019 | ENVIRONMENT | Article

Sewage spill at CMC dumps 33,000 gallons of wastewater — and a SLO creek was impacted


THE TRIBUNE — November 06, 2019 | ENVIRONMENT | Article

Morro Bay’s new sewer facility delayed again — this time because of a frog


CAL COAST NEWS — November 07, 2019 | Daily Briefs | Featured Article

Red-legged frog concerns delay controversial Morro Bay sewer project


ESTERO BAY NEWS | October 10 — October 23, 2019 | Archives | Article

Critics Call for Vote on Sewer Plant Site

Citizens are concerned about proximity of Morro Bay’s proposed sewer plant site in relationship to the Morro Bay Estuary


CAL COAST NEWS — October 23, 2019 | CCT STAFF | Article

Morro Bay residents win referendum petition against city hall

READ On-line

KCBX FM — CENTRAL COAST Public Radio | 90.1 | ISSUES and IDEAS — NOW until Wednesday, October 30, 2019 | Streamed Interview

Citizens for Affordable Living Position on Referendum allowing residents a vote on new sewage plant

Central Coast public radio segment until Wednesday, October 30, 2019 @ 1PM — 2PM with Greta Mart, Betty Winholtz, Co-Chair CAL, and Scott Collins, MB City Manager
LISTEN Interview

LIVE BROADCAST — September 27, 2019 | KSBY | Local News | Article | Television Report

Morro Bay residents ask the city for a vote on the new sewage plant

In case you missed it!  Citizens for Affordable Living gathered 1,107 [1,114] valid signatures.  These signatures should require a City Ordinance to re-zone the WRF property to be voted on by the citizens of Morro Bay.

PUBLISHED (UPDATED) October 04, 2019 | TRIBUNE | Local News | Article

Facing another vote on sewer project, Morro Bay says delays in  project would cost millions

*** CLICK through article links for IMPORTANT information ***

PUBLISHED April 25, – May 8, 2019 • Estero Bay News| Letters to the Editor | Page 15

Fact-Checking Local Officials


PUBLISHED May 2019 — Colony Magazine | Article | Page 47

City of Morro Bay Land Use Change Spark Concern


PUBLISHED APRIL 11, – April 24, 2019 — ESTERO BAY NEWS | Article

Cayucos CSD Taking Bids on Treatment Plant


PUBLISHED APRIL 25-26, 2019 — TRIBUNE | Article

County wants to speed up Morro Bay sewer project, sends review straight to Coastal Commission



Is SLO County staff working to reduce public participation?


PUBLISHED DECEMBER 6 – DECEMBER 19, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Written Edition | Letter (Page 18)

Letter To Morro Bay Supporters 


PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 22, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Written Edition | Opinion

City Can Blame Itself For Legal Quagmire

Printed Edition (P. 26)   Electronic Edition (P. 42)

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 22, 2018 — NEW TIMES | Opinion | Commentaries

Morro Bay’s issues are serious


PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 08, – November 26, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Written Edition | Opinion (Pages 27-28)

City Council Action could Jeopardize the Morro Valley Basin


PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 08, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Morro Bay | News

City Pushing On with WRF


PUBLISHED OCTOBER 10, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Morro Bay | News

One Big Difference Amongst Council, Mayor Candidates


PUBLISHED OCTOBER 10, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Morro Bay | News

Q&A With Council Candidates



Morro Bay City Council candidates outline vision for town’s future at forum


PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 12, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Morro Bay | News

Votes Discarded, City Adopts New Rates


PUBLISHED AUGUST 14, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Morro Bay | News

City Applies for Federal Funding


PUBLISHED AUGUST 09, 2018 — NEW TIMES | Opinion | Commentaries

No public benefits


ARTICLE Printed Version

PUBLISHED AUGUST 01, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Morro Bay | News

City Pushes Back Prop. 218 Hearing


PUBLISHED JULY 26, 2018 — NEW TIMES | Opinion | Commentaries

Is development the reason why Morro Bay chose an expensive location for its WRF?


ARTICLE Printed Version

ADDITIONAL information between the City of Morro Bay and Tri W Enterprises

WATCH LIVE RECAP! — July 15, 2018

CAL Community Workshop II — PLAN B


PUBLISHED JULY 18, 2018 — BAY NEWS | Morro Bay | News

Morro Bay Sewer Goes to a Vote


PUBLISHED JULY 15, 2018 — KSBY | Story | LIVE

Opponents of sewer and water rate hike say it drains Morro Bay’s future


PUBLISHED JULY 11, 2018 — KSBY | Story | LIVE

Morro Bay residents facing possible water, sewer rate increase


AIRED July 11, 2018 — Radio Station 920 AM KVEC

Jeff Heller Interview


Published July 11, 2018 — THE TRIBUNE | Local

Morro Bay has a plan for a new sewer plant — now it needs the public’s support



Morro Bay sewer plan could disrupt tribal burial grounds.  Chumash tribe is fighting back


Proposed WRF Pipeline Corridor LOCATION.

Published July 3, 2018 — Bay News | Morro Bay | News

Rates to Jump 28% With New Sewer


LIVE — CCC Public Meeting of January 10, 2013

LEARN the TRUTH about MBCC and MB sewer project!

Time marker start @ 6:29:53 runs for (4) minutes.


LIVE — KSBY Interview of June 13, 2018

City, residents at odds over Morro Bay water reclamation facility


Published January 2013 — THE TRIBUNE | Local

Coastal Commission turns down plan to rebuild Morro Bay sewer plant http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article39433545.html

Published in the June 8, 2018 — Bay News | Morro Bay | News

Council Meeting, Workshop on Sewer Project Planned


Published in the May 29, 2018 — Bay News | Columnist Article

City’s Sewer Project Makes No Sense


Published in the May 19, 2018 news website of THE TRIBUNE | Morro Bay residents should protest rate increase

Published in the May 15, 2018 written edition of THE TRIBUNE | Morro Bay’s Waste Water Facility project

Dear Morro Bay City Council:  Give us a sewer project we can afford

Morro Bay’s controversial Water Reclamation Facility is racing after five years of city-led delays, no set project budget and a revolving door of consultants in lieu of a project management team. The result? The largest public works project our city’s history – five years after the city told residents the project would only cost an additional $12 million to $20 million than the current plant.

It’s also been three years since voters approved water and sewer rate hikes for a $75 million plant. Now residents are expected to pay at least twice as much for a flawed project without any accounting of how the money is being spent for rate hikes they already approved.

What went wrong?

The city spent five years considering 17 alternative project sites, but not cost-efficient projects. They finally chose the South Bay location as their preferred WRF site, but did so before the completion of an environmental impact report. An EIR provides a comprehensive review of project alternatives and locations. With extensive public analysis and input, a finalized EIR would help the council make a more informed decision on siting.

After five years of unnecessarily spending millions of ratepayer dollars on a myriad of consultants, the city hired a program manager. Despite Councilman Robert Davis’ faint praise of Morro Bay’s Citizens for Affordable Living (CAL), the city excluded CAL’s representative from interviewing the manager they ultimately selected. According to Public Works Director Rob Livick, the city selected the new program manager with the help of a sub-committee that held no public meeting for three months prior.

Last year, Mr. Davis voted to oust CAL member Richard Sadowski from the Planning Commission after Mr. Sadowski sharply criticized the WRF at a City Council meeting. In March, the City Council refused to vote on the motion to nominate a CAL member for the WRF Citizens Advisory Committee.

The city commissioned an expert peer review report with input from licensed, reputable public works officials throughout the county. Mr. Davis claims the peer review identified only $17 million in cost savings. Yet in their key findings, the same peer review panel identified cost savings between $38 million and $43 million to construct a project on or near the existing project site. This was their recommendation for the most effective way to reduce construction costs.

The city will be reviewing only two design-build proposals from two firms with conflicts of interest. Multi-national engineering firm AECOM’s bid appeared on the short list under the stewardship of Michael Nunley, Morro Bay’s former program manager previously employed by AECOM for nearly five years. Global engineering company Black & Veatch is the second company to bid, yet they’re bidding on a project based on specifications outlined in the $800,000 Facilities Master Plan they authored. That is not a competitive bidding process.

Residents want a better, more compliant project to be completed in a timely and efficient manner, but not at any cost. Voting no on the upcoming Proposition 218 vote would send a strong, unified message to the city: “You delayed. We paid. Enough is enough.” Bring us a more cost-efficient project that we can vote yes for.

Morro Bay resident Aaron Ochs is founder of advocacy group Save Morro Bay (savemorrobay.com).

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