On December 18, 2018, the Soquel Creek Water District (District) certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR), adopted Findings of Fact (including a Statement of Overriding Considerations) and a Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP), and approved the Pure Water Soquel: Groundwater Replenishment and Seawater Intrusion Prevention Project (PWS or Project). The Project will supplement natural recharge of the Santa Cruz Mid-County Groundwater Basin with purified water. The purified water will be produced from existing secondary effluent from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility (SC WWTF) and delivered to treatment facilities located in either the City of Santa Cruz or unincorporated Santa Cruz County. Purified water will then be used to recharge the aquifer. The EIR evaluated potential environmental impacts that could occur as a result of implementing the Project and/or alternatives and provided applicable mitigation to reduce the intensity of potential environmental impacts. This included evaluation of Tertiary Treatment at the SC WWTF and an Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF) at the Chanticleer Site.
Since certifying the EIR and approving the Project, an Addendum to the previously certified EIR was prepared to evaluate the potential for any new significant impacts, or a substantial increase in the severity of previously identified significant impacts, to occur with regard to minor modifications to the Project. The Addendum determined that neither the Project modifications, nor any changes in circumstances surrounding the Project, result in any new significant impact, or substantially increase the severity of an impact identified in the 2018 PWS EIR. The Addendum further determined that no new mitigation is required beyond those measures in the adopted MMRP. The Addendum was adopted on November 17, 2020.
On July 20, 2021, the Board approved Resolution No. 21-13, confirming and directing execution of a Seawater Intrusion Control (SWIC) Loan Agreement with the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). This loan agreement will help fund the PWS Project, and reflects the terms and conditions upon which the District proposes to borrow up to $37,000,000 from SWRCB through the SWIC program. This activity is a part of the PWS Project evaluated in the certified EIR and Addendum, and, pursuant to Public Resources Code section 21166 and State CEQA Guidelines section 15162, approval of the SWIC Loan Agreement will result in no new or more severe impacts requiring additional environmental review of the approval action.