Following the tragic wildfires of October 2017, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors directed Sonoma Water to explore the possible extension of sewer service to residents of the Larkfield Estates neighborhood who lost their homes in the fires.
The Airport/Larkfield/Wikiup Sanitation Zone (ALWSZ) is owned and operated by Sonoma Water to collect and treat wastewater. Sonoma Water is planning to (1) make sewer service voluntarily available to current property owners within the ALWSZ boundary that were impacted by the Tubbs Fire, and (2) provide low cost financing for property owners wishing to connect. It is anticipated that sewer service will be available in 2020. Permit Sonoma has indicated that 'properties with compliant septic systems will not compelled to connect' to the new sewer system. For more information please visit the Permit Sonoma website at www.sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Permits/Well-Septic-Sewer/.
On Feb. 5, 2019, the Board of Directors of Sonoma Water approved the Larkfield Estates Sewer project, which will bring sewer service to willing property owners in Larkfield Estates. The Board’s action starts the clock running for property owners to participate in the sewer project. The deadline to sign up for the project has been extended to September 16, 2019. Participation in the sewer project is entirely voluntary.
The costs for design and construction of the new sewer system in the public streets would be paid for by the ALWSZ and then allocated to each parcel within the area served by the sewer collection system. At this time, the cost allocated to each newly served parcel is estimated to be between $50,000 and $65,000. The actual costs will be determined based on actual sewer construction costs.
In addition to each property owner’s share of construction costs, property owners connecting to the sewer system will pay a connection fee and an annual sewer service charge:
Property owners in ALWSZ will have the option of a 20-year, 2% interest loan, to pay connection fees. The estimated annual connection fee loan payments, based the FY 2018/19 Connection Fee ($11,940), would be about $731 per year. An Accessory Dwelling Unit of up to 1,200 square feet would pay a connection fee of $9,552.
The loans will be secured by a lien against the property and shall be repaid over a period not to exceed 30 years for the construction and design costs, and 20 years for the connection fees.
If participating in the financing program for construction and connection fees, please consult your mortgage holder as the financing is considered a lien on your property, much like a property assessed clean energy (PACE) loan. Sewer financing will not subordinate to your mortgage.
The deadline to sign up for the program has been extended to September 16, 2019. See this letter for more details. In the event the schedule changes, property owners will have no less than 6 weeks to sign up after we know the cost of the project.
Here are the steps required to complete the process for participating in the sewer project:
If you participate in the financing of the connection fees or construction costs, a property title report or condition of title guarantee no more than 30 days old is required. If needed, Sonoma Water will order the title report. Sonoma Water will provide a notary public at no cost.
Once the required forms are received, ALWSZ will arrange for the Condition of Title Guarantee, Public Notary and signing. Prior to signing the Notice of Intent Form, the name on the Form must match the name on the Title Report or Condition of Title Guarantee for the property to be connected.
All owners of record will be required to sign the Notice of Intent, Sewer Connection Fee Assessment Agreement, and the Disclosure Notice.
Property owners may obtain their own Title Reports and have the agreements Notarized, as long as the Title Report is less than 30 days old.
Please do not have any forms notarized before a Sonoma Water staff member has reviewed them and they are deemed complete.
Construction of the sewer system is expected to begin in October 2019 and be completed by July 2020.
Construction costs are estimated to range from $50,000 to $65,000 per parcel. A final per-parcel cost will be known when a contractor is selected, which is anticipated to take place in August 2019.
Participation in this project is strictly voluntary. There is no requirement to connect to the sewer upon transfer or sale of the property. Property owners who have functioning septic systems approved by Permit Sonoma may continue to use those, subject to requirements of Permit Sonoma.
However, if property owners choose not to participate at this time, future connection to the constructed sewer collection system will be possible, but financing under this program will not be available at that time:
To those property owners who desire to participate in the proposed Larkfield Sewer Project, or are interested in more information about participating in the sewer project, we are asking for your assistance. The project is approaching the 60% design phase and we are asking property owners to provide us with information about the location of their private sewer lateral in their building plans. This will allow the project designer to include this information in the final design, so that the public lateral would be stubbed to each property line near where you plan to make your connection. Please submit this information to Doug Messenger at email@example.com
(3/25/19) Letter Sent to All Property Owners - Certified letter mailed to property owners with updated signup deadline of 9/16/19.
(2/28/19) Community Meeting - A community meeting was held regarding the sewer project. The deadline to sign up of March 31 has been extended to late summer 2019 after the final cost of the project is known. Property owners can still sign up for sewer today. Contact Barry Dugan at 547-1930 to sign up.
(2/19/19) Letter Sent to All Property Owners - Certified letter mailed to property owners regarding the upcoming community meeting and steps on how to sign up for sewer.
(2/5/19) Board of Supervisors Approves Project - The Board of Supervisors approves the project, in addition to consideration of a financing program that will allow property owners to finance the construction costs over a 30-year period (with no interest or payments until 2030) and to finance connection fees over a 20-year period (with payments starting upon connection). The financing of connection fees will be available to fire impacted properties in the Airport-Larkfied-Wikiup Sanitation Zone that will be making new connections to the sewer system.
(6/29/18) Geotechnical Assessment Gets Underway with Borings - Crews from GHD, the engineering firm designing the sewer collection system, were in the Larkfield Estates neighborhood on Friday, June 29 (see photos below). They worked with drillers from Clear Heart Drilling to conduct geotechnical borings at six locations. The soil samples gathered from the borings will undergo laboratory testing as part of the environmental site assessment that will analyze soil integrity and the presence of any potential contaminants.
(6/20/18) Site Assessment Work Scheduled - Crews from GHD (the engineering firm designing the sewer collection system) will be in the Larkfield Estates and Ramsgate Court neighborhoods on Friday June 22nd to mark utilities and mark the six geotechnical boring locations. After the boring locations and underground utilities are marked, a drilling crew is anticipated to be on site starting June 29 to drill the borings. During that time, soil samples will be also be taken for laboratory testing as part of the environmental site assessment. View a map of the proposed boring locations.
(6/5/18) - Board Approves Larkfield Sewer Extension - On Tuesday, June 5th, 2018 Sonoma Water's Board of Directors approved the plan to extend sewer service into Larkfield Estates and directed Sonoma Water staff to develop a financing program to ease the financial burden of sewer construction and connection. A video of the Board Meeting along with the meeting materials and staff report can be found by visiting: https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Board-of-Supervisors/Calendar/Board-of-Supervisors-Meeting-June-5-2018/.
(4/9/18) Update from Assistant General Manager Mike Thompson - Comments which address key questions raised at Supervisor Gore's Community Meeting on April 2, 2018.
To ensure that you will be successfully contacted as information becomes available, please provide Sonoma Water Senior Program Specialist Barry Dugan with your contact information and property address.
Contact Barry Dugan at Barry.Dugan@scwa.ca.gov or 707-547-1930 or 707-331-2040.