LAFCO BOARD VOTES 6-1 TO APPROVE EOCWD APPLICATION TO ACQUIRE SEWER SYSTEM IN NORTH TUSTIN / EAST ORANGE
On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (OC LAFCO) voted 6-1 to approve East Orange County Water District's (EOCWD) application to accept the transfer of the sewers in Sewer Area 7 from the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD).
More than 100 local residents and 11 elected officials from the nearby communities attended the meeting and more than three dozen speakers spoke in support of EOCWD's application. The Mayors of Orange, Tustin and Villa Park all asked the Commission to transfer the sewers to EOCWD. EOCWD proposed the lowest rate, best service and EOCWD already serves 95% of the customers in Sewer Area 7 with wholesale or retail water services.
Wednesday's approval at LAFCO concludes a 21/2 year regulatory approval process that analyzed both EOCWD's proposal as well as Irvine Ranch Water District's (IRWD) proposal. While both agencies are qualified to provide the service, the key differentiator seemed to be that under EOCWD, the local community would be able to have a stronger voice in the process and have the ability to affect change because Sewer Area 7 customers control 77% of the vote of the EOCWD service area.
"We understand and appreciate the sacred responsibility that comes with the acquisition of the sewers in our community," said EOCWD President Doug Davert. "EOCWD has set a high bar in terms of providing extremely high quality service at reasonable rates. We now have a responsibility to the elected officials, regulators and, most importantly, our customers to not only meet, but exceed their expectations when it comes to the cleaning, maintenance and care of the sewer system."
The system will be managed by General Manager Lisa Ohlund who has more than 30 years in the wastewater industry. The day-to-day oversight will be conducted by Nick Arhontes, who served in that same role at the Orange County Sanitation District for more than 20 years until he retired in March 2016. The pipeline cleaning and maintenance will be done by Performance Pipeline, a company that specializes in pipeline cleaning - particularly clay pipes, like what exist in North Tustin. Performance Pipeline has been cleaning the sewers in Area 7 in North Tustin since 2010.
EOCWD owes a debt of gratitude to the local community members who recognized the importance of maintaining local control of their infrastructure and submitted to LAFCO more than 1,300 individual’s names of Sewer Area 7 customers who support EOCWD.