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A Low-Cost Alternative to a Marine Discharge: Elk River Treatment Plant in Eureka, California
Author: Terry C. Gould, Steven J. Krugel, John E. La Padula
Date: 11/86
Presented at the Pacific Northwest Pollution Control Association Conference, Portland, Oregon, November 4, 1986

If ever a community deserved a solution to its wastewater management problems, it was the City of Eureka in 1980. The city had just spent 10 years planning, designing, and bidding a new regional treatment facility, only to have the project die from lack of local financial support. The area had the highest population density of any coastal community north of San Francisco, and development had concentrated around Humboldt Bay, one of the most productive estuaries in the state. Urban development and sensitive environmental features, coupled with the long-deferred wastewater treatment plant upgrading, led to severe water quality problems. Periodic bypasses of raw sewage to the bay were a common occurrence, posing a threat to the shellfish industry and recreational use of the bay. As a result, in the early 1980s the state imposed a sewer moratorium on the city.