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Processing sewage presents challenges for city of Chico

Processing sewage continues to be a problem for the city of Chico after the Camp Fire.

Posted: May 22, 2019 1:24 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Processing sewage continues to be a problem for the city of Chico after the Camp Fire.

The city's population grew by 20 percent after the fire, and Public Works said that has added an average of 1 million gallons of waste to treatment facilities each month. 

Officials said this is the most waste the city has ever processed, but with the same resources as before the Camp Fire. 

"1 million gallons per day could equate to a 16% increase in operating costs, which is about $490,000 for us," said Erik Gustafson, director of Public Works. "That includes materials and supplies and staffing. We deploy an extremely lean staffing model as it is."

Although household sizes have grown since the Camp Fire, monthly rates have remained the same.

Gustafson said they are still working on a rate analysis and will have a more concrete answer on a possible rate hike sometime in the coming months. 

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