Crews began erecting fencing around a portion of the Burnham Strip on Tuesday, a prelude to installing an underground holding tank necessary to deal with stormwater runoff.

Beginning this week, the Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside will begin installing an underground wet-weather stormwater storage basin on the El Granada property. The work is expected to be complete by the end of October.

Officials say the 200,000-gallon holding tank is needed as part of the district’s efforts to prevent overflows during the rainy series – a key aspect of the environmental protections necessary for the coastal sewer management agency.

SAM is a joint powers authority serving the city of Half Moon Bay, the Granada Sanitary District and the Montara Water and Sanitary District. The 6.2-acre property, between Highway 1 and Obispo Road in El Granada, is owned by the Granada district.

The next step will require the periodic closure of one lane of Obispo Road over the next 10 days or so as crews connect pipes between existing infrastructure on the east side of the road and the new project on the strip.

SAM officials say the work will be conducted between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays and perhaps over some Saturdays. They say there should be minimal impact to the surrounding community and environment.

To sign up for project updates, see SAM’s Facebook page at

The Burnham Strip is a sensitive site for many Midcoast residents. It affords a view to the ocean for people living up the hill. The underground infrastructure could forestall any future development on land that future developers may covet.

The storage tank is positioned to manage stormwater during peak flows along the eight-mile Intertie pipeline. It is adjacent to SAM’s Portola Pump Station.

The project has been discussed for years on the coast. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a report noting that SAM didn’t have the capacity to handle peak flows. Half Moon Bay officials said collecting sewage wasn’t the purview of the joint authority and refused to help pay for the project. In the end, the Granada and Montara sanitary districts decided to fund the project on their own.

In a written statement, Ed Larenas, chair of San Mateo County’s Surfrider chapter, said the new tank is an important environmental safeguard.

“We see this achievement as a tremendous step forward towards enhancing and protecting water quality and native habitat in an area that’s really important as a prime recreational spot at Surfer’s Beach and other beaches along the coast,” he says in the press release.

The project has been awarded to local contractors an the general engineering firm of Stoloski & Gonzalez and is expected to employ more than a dozen workers, according to the release.

(4) comments

August West

If you want "updates," you need to comb through agendas and minutes at

Not a real good use of time either as the details are often left out. Better yet, go to a meeting. They are actually pretty entertaining.

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

I see what you mean cynthia. More obfuscation by those who know what is best for us. They created the page on July 17th.

Why would they do that? Why force me to sign up to see what they are up to?

They will do anything to keep folks from looking. They do not care what you think and in fact prefer that you not.


Wait, if I want updates on a government project, I have to have a Facebook account?! That's just not right.

August West

Granada Sanitary District ratepayers paid $850,000 to "protect" the views of a few residents of the District. The "Strip" was saved. Too bad the Grand Jury never looked into it.

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