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Lassen County Times
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October 30, 2007     Lassen County Times
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October 30, 2007
 

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llB Tuesdayr Oct. 30, 2007 Lassen County Times Anthony E. Larson Staff Writer anthonyelarson@starband.net Spalding, a resort commu- nity on the shores of scenic Eagle Lake, is filled with happy residents today, thanks to the completion of a wastewater system. "After 20 years of hard work, waiting and much com- munity turmoil, the system was officially certified yester- day,*' said Stan Walton, chair- man of the Spalding Community Services District, who began as an unpaid consultant on the pro- ject, almost from its incep- tion. "We got the letter from Lahontan that said that we did good and we may now go ahead and utilize the sys- tem." Construction on the $12 million project began last year, and was completed this fall. The Spalding saga began in 1984 with an order from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Region, for zero discharge into Eagle Lake. This prohibition was made to reduce the wastewater inputs into the lake and to protect the drinking water supply. The Spalding community responded in 1985, forming the Eagle Lake Community Services District to address the issue. The district's board began exploring ways to solve the problem, but contention within the communities and between individuals in the district stymied progress. Frustrated by the commu- Dignitaries and officials involved in the construction of Spalding's new $12 million wastewater system gather in the crisp autumn air to cut the ribbon on the sophisticated electronic control system at the system's evaporative ponds. nity's lack of progress, Lah0ntan issued a 'cease and desist' order in 1991, making any new building in the com- munity impossible, adding leverage to generate commu- nity action. In 1992, the district changed its name to the Spalding Community Services District and went to work to resolve the issue. It petitioned the water board's prohibition to allow time to consider alter- natives in order to resolve the issue. By 2004, the district, under the leadership of its board its chairman Charles Ray and its manager Merle Lay had certi- fied the environmental impact report, arranged a land ownership agreement from the Forest Service, pro- duced designs for a wastewa- ter collection system, set out bid specifications and secured a low interest loan of over $8 million and nearly $1 million in grant funding for construction of a wastewater system. Rob Tucker, an engineer with the Lah0ntan board said, "Each one of those large milestones took numerous actions and daily decisions. This project is a tremendous undertaking, something your community should be proud of. It's amazing to see the community spirit here." In a meeting to celebrate the acceptance of the con- struction by the water board that saw the district meeting place filled to capacity. Tucker stated, "On ehalf of the water board and the executive officer, I would like 15 Minute or to thank the Spalding Community Service District, its board members, the gener- al manager, Merle Lay, and the Spalding community for diligent efforts and accom- plishments in this major pro- ject to protect water quality." Walton saluted the proper- ty owners in the community, saying, "We deeply appreciat- ed their support. There were times when it was touch and go, but you did come out by a great majority and give us support. That's what pushed us ahead." Dave Hartwell, from the USDA praised the district for its diligence and frugality. "The USDA could have funded this entire project," he said, noting that 'doing so would have meant a much larger loan and therefore higher rates for users. In order to keeps costs as low as possible, the district is a model for the type of sewage disposal system that can be put in a small commu- nity. Environmental Health and Lassen County are very, very happy with what you've done here. So, we want to say thank you." District 1 Supervisor Bob Pyle said, "I'm glad to see this day finally came It's been a great community effort. It shows it can work, and it can happen." He lauded the district's board members, chairmen and manager. "You can't give these people enough respect for the time they put in and the beatings they take. I take a lot of beatings myself. But, that's good; I get paid for it. I don't think they do." Jim Stoll, an engineer with Lampe Engineering who was hired to design the system and oversee its construction, said, "It's been five years of a "They've bent over backward to deal with a real difficult situation, with narrow right- of-ways. We've been digging down 13 feet in solid rock and Putting pipe in the ground in a 20-foot right-of-way. Sundt has been able to find a way to do that. I've really been impressed with the pride they show in their work. They're a great organization to work with." Lastly, Stoll praised the community. "We appreciate you putting up with the dust, the mud and the inconve- nience --most of you silently, but not everybody," he said, which brought chuckles from the audience. "We appreciate the input. "We tried to spend the money as if it were our own, realizing that is was yours and was in limited supply. I think you've gotten the best sewer system for the lowest price. It wasn't cheap. But I don't think there's a sewer system out there we could have built for less cost." For herpart, Lay was plain- ly pleased. "I am so excited. After 15 years, it's finally a reality," she said. Of the former chairman who pushed the project along for so many years, she said, "I want to give a special thanks to Charlie Ray. He wanted to be here but couldn't. "Thanks to all the board members that were instru- mental in this. They all worked for the betterment of the community," she said, thanking individuals, friends and agencies she worked with. "This is really an excit- ing moment for all of us." C less wait time! Old fashioned, fast, friendly customer service We deliver Medi-Cal, CUSP and most insurances. We applied to two other agencies real adventure It's taken aLay also thanked the 83 per- for additional grant funds, lot of dedicated people, all cent of the property owners which impressed Hartwell. pulling in the same direction, who voted to move forward with the project. "Just going to one agency for to make it work." funding is enough of a task. He gave special recognition "When you're behind this But, to take on two more is to Lay. "She's been tenacious; desk and you get calls every very commendable, she's been absolutely amaz- day, you wonder where is "You deserve a lot of credit ing in the way she can get your support," she said. "But, for that extra effort that was things done --sometimes all they're the silent majority. I made to keep these costs by herself. Merle, you've done want to thank all those peo- down," he said. a great job, and this really is a ple." specialize in Doug Ames, from the credit to you. You've been the She especially thanked TAR's! Lassen County common -denominator Lassen.Countyand ?P s You don-tneed Environmeiital -Heaitil through ailof this.'; " "T: -~mm,-"1"ne:,icount~'~I~/a~ed * $25 000 to gel [ne ~u ana me to be a patient Department, who has dealt Stoll also praised the dis- ' sewer project under way. of the clinic to use our pharmacy said "I feel really happy after all these years that this is done. It has been a long pro- cess. This has really saved your community and allowed the development that you will now have to go forward. "This is a great project that you have done, together. This with this issue for 30 years, trict's chairman. "Stan puts in an incredible number of hours --unpaid hours His background in sewer opera- tion maintenance is extraor- dinary. His advice, since we started construction, has been very valuable." He praised the contractor, Sundt Construction. (530) 310-1973 HOURS: I Mon Prl, 9-6 - Sat 9-t We are located inside Northeastern Rural Health Clinic, next to Urgent Care by Banner Hospital If you LIVE, WORK OR WORSHIP LASSEN COUNTY you can be a member? We Offer: 24 Hr Audio Response Payroll Deduction E-Statements Home Equity Loans IRA (Roth, Traditional) Christmas, Kids & Teen Club Accounts FREE Online Banking FREE Bill Pay Visa No Monthly Service Charge No Minimum Balance Required Free Check Card Overdraft Protection (OAC) 2605 Riverside Dr. Susanville visit us at: COUNTY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION www.lassencreditunion.com Stop by and see what we can do for you. "We had no money. I begged them, and they came through," said Lay. When that loan came due a year later, Lay went to work again. "That year was almost up when I went to Plumas Bank, and I begged them," she said, explaining that Plumas bridged the gap with a $50,000 loan until the grant funding arrived. "They came through for us. They said they helped communities get projects like this done and I want to thank them." Walton summarized in closing the meeting, saying, "This, for some time, will be the largest effort this commu- nity will ever put forth. "We've come a long way. I know there was a time, dur- ing turmoil, when it was almost embarrassing to say you were a Spalding resident. That's no longer is the case. I think today" being a Spalding resident should be like a badge of honor. The reason for that is we've all made a major contribution into pre- serving the wellbeing of Eagle Lake. I know there've been times when each and every one of you, and I'll admit myself we looked at it and said, 'Is it really worth this?' "If you ever wonder if it's worth it, just look to the East before daylight and watch that sunrise. Watch Eagle Lake come to life. You know that you have contributed to the wellbeing of that, not only for ourselves but (also) for the next two or three gen- erations. And in my mind, that's well worth it. '2 know it has left some scars on this community. It is the desire of the present board that we slow the pace down a little bit and start to address the other needs of the community. We have every intention of doing that listening more than direct- ing. We want to try to enter a period of some healing and try to remove some of those scars. I think if we all work together, we can do that."