Hollister City Council members quietly approved setting aside $2 million for repairs related to a 2016 sewer spill caused by defective equipment.
Council members approved the allocation from the consent agenda in a 4-0 vote Monday, with Mayor Ignacio Velazquez absent from the meeting.
As part of the settlement for what the city termed a “tomato processing water spill,” the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the City of Hollister to make changes to the Apricot Lane storm drain line and improvements to the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The tomato waste came from the San Benito Foods tomato processing plant in Hollister that operates for 12 weeks each summer starting in July.
The improvements are related to one of two waste spills into the San Benito River from 2016 that led to fines for the city from the state water board.
The repairs are estimated to cost about $2 million, so that is the amount the water board wants set aside. The regional water board wanted “assurances that the city has the funding to complete the project,” according to the council agenda.
According to the agenda report, a small amount of tomato processing water was discharged to a channel leading to the San Benito River after a valve failure.