City of Mount Shasta approves draft EIR response letter

Giovanni Lamanna
The Mount Shasta City Council heard public comments and approved a response letter detailing its concerns about the Crystal Geyser draft EIR during a special meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Mount Shasta City Park. By Giovanni Lamanna

The Mount Shasta City Council last week unanimously approved a response letter that lists the City’s numerous concerns about the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Crystal Geyser bottling facility.

The City’s Responsible Agency letter, among other issues, suggests the plant not operate at night in order to mitigate for noise and vibration.

The City is also asking that trucks do not use Spring Hill Drive and that a road repair agreement be developed to help maintain city roads.

Don Burke, who is overseeing the letter’s content, gave a brief overview of the City’s response during a special meeting attended by about 20 people Thursday evening at Mt. Shasta City Park.

Burke, an ENPLAN scientist focusing on environmental planning, mentioned the City’s request for dual 18-inch pipes to eliminate a bottleneck in the pipe that would take wastewater from Crystal Geyser to the City’s municipal sewer system.

He also pointed out the City’s request that the Crystal Geyser project meet the City’s light and glare standards, and a recommendation that the public wells be included in the project’s hydrology analysis.

Before the four council members who attended the meeting – Mayor Kathy Morter, Tim Stearns, John Stackfleth and Barbara Wagner – unanimously approved the letter, Stearns said, “I am very pleased with the revised draft letter. I am satisfied with the letter as verbally amended by staff and would be ready for a motion.”

City manager Bruce Pope said the City originally planned to submit both the Responsible Agency letter and an Interested Party letter, but decided to combine its comments from both into the Responsible Agency letter.

The deadline for submitting comments is Feb. 27 at 5 p.m.

Pope explained that there was a mistake in the City’s original draft letter, which showed the City favoring wastewater treatment Option 4 in the DEIR.

The City is actually recommending Option 1, which would have all domestic and industrial rinse and process wastewater discharged into the City’s municipal sewer system through the existing connection at the southwest corner of the project site. Option 1 would require Crystal Geyser to obtain a Permit for Industrial Wastewater Discharge from the City. Crystal Geyser has submitted an application for the permit, and the City has issued a draft of the permit and associated conditions, which is included as Appendix I of the DEIR.

The following points were included in Don Burke’s summary of the City’s Responsible Agency letter:

• Under Utilities: “there is mitigation that dual 18-inch pipes be installed to eliminate the bottleneck we had found. The 18 inches is more than what Crystal Geyser would need and would allow for additional growth of the City.”

• Aesthetics: “The City has asked that it’s light and glare standards be met. There were some aspects that weren’t addressed. The City asks that the County consult with City on our standards.

• Hydrology: “It does not mention the public wells within the DEIR. We recommended further analysis with mitigation results based on that analysis.”

• Water Quality: the City recommended that data collection be consistent.

• Noise and Vibration: the draft EIR stated that the noise was less than significant, but the City believes that the EIR downplayed the back-up alarms and sounds during night operations. Burke said, “We believe they could simply not operate at night.”

• Traffic concerns: The draft EIR stated there were no safety hazards as visual requirements are met. “We think the analysis could be beefed up with speeding being taken into account,” said Burke. Councilor Tim Stearns added, “The City is asking that trucks do not use Spring Hill Drive at all.” Burke said, “The truck traffic would certainly lead to deterioration of the roadways. We see the best option would be a road repair agreement that would help maintain the roads.”

Among the public comments heard during the meeting, Dan Axelrod said “Crystal Geyser cannot be trusted to do this monitoring.”

Raven Stevens expressed many DEIR concerns and thanked the City for its “consideration” of the document.

Bob Henson said, “When I looked at the DEIR, the statement that 50 trucks arriving and 50 trucks leaving may not be correct. I would recommend asking for the actual counts instead of the numbers being pulled out of some study. The other question I have was in regards to the leech field. If they do use the leech field, we should test around the field and some of the wells downstream from there.”

Holly Cardoza said, “I am wondering if in the letter, you challenge the adequacy and legitimacy of who wrote this EIR. I think there are financial ties to CG and whoever wrote the EIR.”

Andrea Vyenielo said, “I wanted to point out and recommend that if the leach field is used, it would be monitored by the Water Quality Control Board. They say that they would monitor the water to California water quality standards. We need to make sure that our water quality is maintained rather than just meeting the California State standards.”