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New law may speed up plans to connect Paradise to Chico's sewer system

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PARADISE, Calif. - A new state law is speeding up plans to connect Paradise to Chico's sewer system. 

Instead of waste from Paradise going to large septic tanks, it will be able to speed up the process of building a sewage line into Chico. 

Right now, when you flush your toilet in Paradise the waste goes into a tank waiting to be emptied. 

"There are not very many towns that are still on septic," said Chuck Berry, who lives in Paradise. 

The new law would allow the town to hire someone to design and build a sewer project at the same time and help with the cost. 

"As opposed to the normal process where a whole set of plans would be prepared," Paradise Irrigation District Executive Director Tom Lando said.

"The Paradise Sewer Project is really what we believe to be one of the biggest factors in the town's recovery," Public Works Director Marc Mattox said.

This recovery could allow more homes and businesses in Paradise than what the septic system can support. 

"The land and the soils on those parcels where developers would normally build, can't handle the capacity of multi-family housing brings with the waste-water generation," Mattox said. 

"If it's better for the environment then that's kind of what I think we should go with," Berry said. 

The law would also help Paradise irrigation with its own project that would pump water from Paradise into the vina subbasin in Chico. 

The latest draft of the vina's groundwater sustainability plan calls for the Paradise irrigation district to supply 5,000 feet of water to recharge the groundwater in Chico. 

"To do that there'd have to be an intertie or a pipeline from Paradise down to Chico. no decision has been made by that, and that'd be a decision by the board of the paradise irrigation district," Lando said.

"We should share with our neighbors. Obviously, after the fire, Chico and Oroville were great to all of us who were displaced," Berry said.

The Town of Paradise is currently in the environmental review process of the sewer project. Council chambers will ultimately need to vote on whether to go forward with the project. 

The sewage connection project would not impact the rate of pay for people down in Chico, as Paradise would be paying their fair share. It would also be separate from Chico's existing collection system.

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