FAQs

How much will the project cost and who's paying for it?

The Santa Ana River Interceptor Relocation Project will cost approximately $120 million which will be funded by the Orange County Flood Control District. This cost includes administration, environmental documentation, design, and construction.

For additional information please contact our community liaison, Michelle Tuchman:
949-854-1443
Michelle Tuchman 

What is the Santa Ana River Interceptor?
The Santa Ana River Interceptor (SARI) is a wastewater pipeline, 23 miles long, running from the Orange County/San Bernardino county line to the Orange County Sanitation District sewage treatment plant in Fountain Valley. The SARI serves the sewage disposal needs of Yorba Linda, east Anaheim, Orange, and portions of Garden Grove, Santa Ana and Fountain Valley. The pipeline also serves segments of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, disposing raw sewage and industrial waste from the Inland Empire
Why does the SARI need to be relocated from its current location?
When construction of the SARI was completed in 1976, the riverbed provided a protective covering about 20 feet deep. Over the years, the riverbed has eroded to only 1 foot or less of protective covering along the upper reaches of the pipeline in Yorba Linda. During heavy rainstorms, when high volumes of river water are carried downstream, the loss of protective cover puts the pipeline in jeopardy of failure. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has raised the level of Prado Dam by 30 feet and has increased the discharge capacity into the Santa Ana River from 10,000 cubic feet per second to 30,000 cubic feet per second. (A cubic foot is approximately the size of the box containing a regulation-size basketball.) Increasing the discharge capacity into the Santa Ana River will add to the rate of erosion of the riverbed over the SARI, further adding to the risk of failure.
What would be the consequences of a pipeline failure?
If the SARI should fail, raw sewage and industrial waste will spill into the Santa Ana River, polluting the river, adversely impacting the riparian habitat and, eventually, the beaches near the mouth of the river in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. The county's water recharge basins, which are adjacent to the Santa Ana River in Anaheim, would also be at risk of contamination. In addition, a break in the line would allow sand and large debris to enter the pipe and travel through the sewer system to the Sanitation District sewage treatment plant. This debris, if allowed to enter the plant, will damage the treatment facilities.
The Santa Ana River is an environmentally sensitive area. What types of precautions will be taken to protect wildlife?

The Santa Ana River and its shoreline are home to numerous threatened or endangered species, including the Santa Ana sucker, the least Bell's vireo, the southwestern willow flycatcher, and the California gnatcatcher. To protect these birds and fish, safeguard their habitat and diminish any impacts, OC Flood Control District and its project partners, Orange County Sanitation District and the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, have developed a comprehensive wildlife monitoring and protection plan.

Qualified biologists, who will monitor the construction sites throughout the Santa Ana River Interceptor Relocation Project, are the cornerstone of the plan. Their focus is to identify the presence or absence of any threatened or endangered species within the construction area, determine whether additional protection measures should be implemented, and confirm project compliance with permit requirements.

Protection measures include working only in daylight hours during the nesting season, removing riparian habitat only if necessary, and, if breeding sensitive species are found, installing sound baffling around construction sites where noise impacts are greater than 60 dBA, or the sound of a running dishwasher.

The new pipeline will be built adjacent to the south side of the river. How will this impact the bike path?
The bike path will remain open and accessible throughout the SARI Project. It's anticipated that bikers will experience the most impact during the first two weeks of construction and again during the last two weeks of the project when bike path detours are built and switchovers occur. During a two-month period of the SARI Relocation Project, crews would be working adjacent to the bike path along La Palma Avenue in Yorba Linda. This will necessitate a temporary bike path detour on to La Palma Avenue.
How does the SARI Relocation Project impact plans for the Santa Ana River Bikeway extension?
These two projects are being coordinated by the County of Orange, which is the lead agency for both the SARI Relocation Project and the proposed extension and realignment of the Santa Ana River Riding and Hiking Trail and the Santa Ana River Bikeway from Gypsum Canyon Road to the Orange County boundary. The SARI Relocation Project will commence first. Any bike path improvements will complement plans for the Santa Ana River Bikeway, thereby maximizing construction dollars and minimizing any future trail impacts.
How will construction impact Green River Golf Club?

Green River Golf Club will remain open throughout the SARI Relocation Project, retaining its new 18-hole configuration for the majority of construction. Two holes may require slight modification to accommodate construction for a limited period of time.

The Golf Club was reconfigured in 2009 from 36 holes to an 18-hole course to accommodate flood protection improvements along the Santa Ana River that are part of the Santa Ana River Mainstem Project

Will the Canyon RV Park be closed during construction?
A portion of the west side of Canyon RV Park will remain open throughout construction. The entire east side will be closed from six to ten months during construction of the pipeline and the metering station.
When will construction begin and how long will it take to complete?
Construction will begin in the summer of 2011 and is expected to be completed by January 2014.
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