challenges location of Escondido water plant
J. Harry Jones, February 10, 2017
lawsuit challenging the Escondido City Council’s decision
last month to allow a large recycled water treatment plant
to be built in the middle of the city was filed Friday in
Vista Superior Court.
suit was filed by The Springs of Escondido, a retirement home
adjacent to a 4.5-acre city-owned property at the southeast
corner of Washington Avenue and Ash Street where the plant
would be built.
city says the plant is critical to Escondidos future
water needs and the Ash Street site is the only suitable place
for it to be built.
Everett DeLano, representing the Springs, argues in the lawsuit
that the plant is unsuitable for a residential and commercial
inappropriate for the neighborhood,” DeLano said. “It’s inconsistent
with the General Plan and the Municipal Code. It has numerous
impacts that weren’t adequately analysed. It’s going to have
an negative impact on the community and the residents nearby.”
plant will desalinate recycled water that has already been
partially treated, then send it through pipes to eastern and
northern Escondido to be used primarily to irrigate farmland.
Further desalination is necessary for it to be used on crops,
especially avocado trees.
things stand now, most of the citys partially treated
water is dumped into the ocean via an outfall pipe that is
nearing capacity. Unless more water can be diverted from the
outfall, the pipe will have to be replaced at a cost of $500
million. That cost would likely double because of all the
environmental problems and permitting that would be needed.
100 senior citizens live in the Springs. During various public
hearings, they and other nearby residents complained that an
industrial plant in the middle of homes and businesses would
hurt the character of the area and fail to bring help to the
economy of the neighborhood.
retirement home residents said they also feared the construction
noise and the chemicals used to treat the water would worsen
their already declining health.
Attorney Jeff Epp on Friday said the city was not surprised
by the lawsuit but could not comment because of the litigation.
the council meeting only Councilwoman Olga Diaz voted against
the plant. She said a better location should be found and
predicted lawsuits would delay construction indefinitely thereby
delaying recycled water delivery to farmers who have been
asking for it for years.