The City of Pacifica’s previous wastewater treatment plant was constructed in the Sharp Park neighborhood in 1952. The neighborhood developed residentially and commercially until the treatment plant was surrounded by houses on three sides and the ocean on the fourth side. The plant went through four major upgrades and three ocean outfall replacements. The plant was marginal in performance of wastewater treatment, odor control and ocean discharge. It operated under cease and desist orders since 1977.
In 1990, the city helped form a citizens committee to evaluate alternatives for the improvement of the wastewater facility. The committee was composed of individuals from different neighborhoods and met monthly. The goals of the committee were to help develop alternatives to meet the criteria of the cease and desist order for water quality and to maximize community benefits while minimizing the cost.
Through this process, over 50 alternatives were investigated. Based on the committee effort, city staff prepared a facilities plan to form the basis for environmental documentation and design. The committee appointed a sub-committee that selected consultants to prepare the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and the project designs. The committee also selected consultants for the value engineering process.
Based on the final EIR, the selected alternative was the construction of a new buried tertiary treatment plant, located in the old rock quarry, discharging into a restored Calera Creek. Construction by Walsh Pacific started in September 1996 and the new plant started treating wastewater in August 2000.