McK wastewater plant’s Pond 5 getting $407K solar array

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – In an effort to preserve the town’s popular dog park, the McKinleyville Community Services District (MCSD) will spend an extra $407,000 to locate a giant solar array behind a fence inside the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The MCSD Board of Directors voted unanimously, with Director Shel Barsanti absent, to locate its Microgrid Project on Pond 5, which it no longer uses for sewage treatment. 

The district will need to remove bullrush from the pond and construction of the footings to hold the solar panels will be more expensive to build compared to the dog park location to the south.

In a report to the board, MCSD Manager Patrick Kaspari acknowledged that infringing on the dog park would likely generate extensive public opposition. 

Also, the Pond 5 location is already fenced off, which will provide more security for the solar panels.

The additional expense will be covered by State Water Resource Control Board Energy Efficiency Funding, which is providing $4.97 million for the project. 

Half of that is in the form of a grant, and the other half is in the form of financing.

The microgrid would include battery storage and would be connected with a diesel generator, used in emergencies. 

The goal is for the sewer plant to reach net zero, meaning it would produce as much energy as it consumes. The goal is to have the system pay itself off in about 10 years.



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