I read with dismay the front-page article by Neil Farrell in the last issue of the Estero Bay News about the City’s new treatment plant. Mr. Farrell has been a critic of the facility from the beginning. He takes glee in writing about the problems encountered in building it. I doubt it is legitimate journalism to base an article on “a news tip from a reader” without verifying it. Especially when the claims made by the unnamed reader are disputed by the City’s Public Works Director. Start-up problems were anticipated, and there is a planned three-month testing period to identify and resolve them.
And shame on the editors for burying the good news about the plant on p. 7 (City getting a $1.2 million grant for the injection wells). In awarding the grant, the State Water Board said the Morro Bay project received the highest score and was awarded the largest grant because it “demonstrated an ability to address the most critical needs of the IRWM Region, leverage non-state funds, employ new and innovative technologies/practices, provide multiple benefits, encourage regional approaches, and improve drought preparedness.”
WRF critics love to point out that the plant itself will cost more than originally planned. Yes, it will. However, the overall project cost (the plant plus debt service) is less than anticipated. Citizens will not experience an increase in the $41/month surcharge on their water/sewer bills to pay for it, thanks to the low-interest loans and grants that the City has received.
I hope to see more balanced and objective reporting from the Estero Bay News in the future.