Workers collected 21.8 tons of trash

PASO ROBLES — In March, Paso Robles Water Treatment Plant Laboratory Supervisor Mark Scandalis told the City Council that litter and vandalism continue to be a problem in the Salinas riverbed. Scandalis outlined specific actions the City is taking to combat trash, vandalism, and theft at the new facility.

Working with the Community Action Team, a special police group that works with homeless, displaced and at-risk individuals, Scandalis said the City collected 21.8 tons of trash in one day.

“The laboratory has some wells that are in the river, and the homeless congregate around them, they vandalize, and it makes our jobs unsafe to do, so we wanted to call the CAT team to help us out with cleaning up the places where we have to work,” said Scandalis. He continued, “The CAT team is a very welcome part of our facility now.”

As a short-term solution to the litter, the City will provide a large roll-off dumpster that is emptied every two weeks until the completion of the City’s homeless shelter.

The first of its kind in California — the $60 million plant also added a harvesting system that collects nutrients such as ammonia, phosphorus, and nitrate from the water and creates a commercial-grade fertilizer in the form of crystals called Struvite. The compound will be sold to a fertilizer distributor, recouping some costs of the plant’s operation. The harvester produces one super sack a week, 2,000 to 2,500 pounds of the compound. Collecting the nutrients also keeps the pipes clean as the Struvite typically crystallizes inside the pipe walls, reducing their effectiveness and, ultimately, their lifespan.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles