History of Arcata's Wastewater Treatment
Historical Treatment Regional Plant Wetlands & Marshes References

Closing of Mount Trashmore

Mount Trashmore, located next to the Arcata's primary and secondary wastewater treatment plant was closed in 1973. The City of Arcata began brainstorming what next to do next with the land. Ideas of transforming the capped landfill into a marina, motor cross area, golf course, or baseball field were brought to the city's attention. However, the City of Arcata decided to restore the area back to wetlands. This decision was greatly influenced by the new national water quality laws that had been going into effect during the early 1970s.

Plans for a Regional Treatment Facility

In 1975 a regional wastewater treatment plant was proposed by the Humboldt Wastewater Authority, stemming from the recent Clean Water Act. This act banned releasing secondary treated effluent directly into the bay, unless the discharger could demonstrate "enhancement of the receiving waters" (City of Arcata 2008). As a result, the California State Water Resources Control Board began endorsing a plan that eliminated using Humboldt Bay as a water body for discharging reclaimed water. Essentially, the plan was to develop a pipeline that would run along Highway 101 collecting the effluent from McKinleyville, Arcata, and Eureka (Figure 3). The effluent would then be sent to a new treatment facility, intended to be constructed on the Samoa Peninsula. There, the effluent would be treated and discharged off the coast into the Pacific Ocean.

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Figure 3: Map of Hwy 101 from McKinleyville to Eureka

Arcata residents appealed to the regional and state boards to challenge the proposed plan. Environmentalists were concerned that a sewer line from McKinleyville to Eureka would initiate development on valued lands that provide a rural boundary between the three cities. Additionally, the proposal would remove the need for the already existing Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant, which was seen as residents as a waste of the time and money that went into its development. Furthermore, the plan was going to cost Arcata $10 million for their share of the $25 million project, and $1.5 million a year in maintenance costs (EcoTipping Points, 2008).