If one good thing came out of the soul-searing decision on the Terra-Gen wind project, it was that consulting early and often with Humboldt's smart and finicky public can make or break a development. Nordic Aquafarms appears to have taken this to heart last week when it voluntarily opted to pursue a full environmental impact statement in its quest for a fish factory.
Alas, instead of asking for our humble opinions, the city of Eureka is proceeding with a new wastewater treatment facility with zero public input. Its plan would permanently allow sewage outfall in Humboldt Bay instead of extending the current outfall into the ocean.
Part of Eureka's plan wedges in an "interpretative center." That includes laying trails and providing signs, and, for those fortunate to have boats, a boat launch. The "interpretive" plan estimated cost is $4.2 million, to be paid for in new rates for Eureka and Humboldt Community Services District ratepayers.
The plan also contains a grant-funded Elk River wetlands restoration project.
Leaving the outfall into the bay could be iffy, what with warming water and all the chaos that a warming planet is bringing. But, we don't know because Eureka's going straight to the state for approval. No one knows if there's a better, more efficient, or less-expensive path to improving the yucky old wastewater system because Eureka never bothered to consult with its smart and finicky citizenry.
Eureka intends for its development to be approved by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in August. Enviros are asking the state for at least one public workshop to vet Eureka's plan, but the city has apparently not learned Terra-Gen Lesson No. 1.
J.A. Savage, Eureka