The Graton Community Services District currently has one function: the maintenance and operation of a wastewater treatment plant. The unincorporated community of Graton consists of approximately 1,700 residents living in approximately 450 homes. There is a small industrial presence located both in and close to the one-block-long center of town. All residences in the District's operational jurisdiction are required to be hooked up to the sewer district: no septic tanks or mound fields are allowed. All homes must provide their own fresh water, mostly by wells drilled on their property, but the discharge must flow to the sewer plant. Although the District encompasses most of the area centered on the main part of Graton, there are exceptions that may appear to be "in town" but are not in the sewer district. New hookups are available in limited numbers; currently the fee for a new hookup is approximately $10,000. The cost of running the wastewater treatment plant is divided by the number of ESD's (Equivalent Single-Family Dwelling); most ratepayers pay for one ESD, but unusual properties (such as parcels with two or more buildings, or commercial operations such as restaurants) will pay more: additional hookups on one contiguous parcel will pay 80% of the current ESD rate, for their additional hookups. The current single-ESD rate for the 2012 tax year is $1574.00.
Unlike most incorporated communities, where residents pay a combined water-and-sewer bill, since Graton residents are obligated to provide their own fresh water, this charge is for a year's sewerage treatment only. It is collected via the County Tax Collector, appearing on the annual property-tax bill as a line item. In addition to this charge, ratepayers also pay off a small bond fee, which was levied to pay for the "new" plant when it was first built in the 1970s. This bond will be paid off in 2016.
SOME GENERAL GUIDELINES TO ALWAYS FOLLOW:
What To Flush
The ONLY material that should ever go down the drain in your home, is water; water with some soap or detergent; toilet paper, and whatever comes out of YOU.
What NOT to Flush!
Everything else! That is, do NOT flush (OR pour down a drain) anything other than what is listed above. For example, NEVER flush Baby-Wipes! NEVER flush paper towels! NEVER flush diapers! Never flush tampons or sanitary napkins! NEVER flush dining (food) left-overs! NEVER flush automotive chemicals (oil, gas, antifreeze, brake fluid or rags). Any and all of these items should be disposed of with your weekly trash pickup. NEVER flush (or pour down any drain) cooking fat, cooking oil, gravy, sauce, not ever sour milk! NEVER flush unused Drugs!
WHY NOT?? Isnt' that what a sewage treatment plant is for? NO! The job of our plant is to take slightly contaminated water, such as from your shower or bathtub, AND whatever else comes OUT OF YOUR BODY...and convert it to pure water. Anything else which you put down the drain stops that process: BabyWipes are among the worst! So are tampons and sanitary napkins. Why? because they are made of really-strong manmade FIBERS that CLOG up our filters and separators which MUST then be cleaned out and repaired.....BY HAND! Imagine having to pull all this stuff out of our machinery... by hand: It's a dirty, difficult job! Help us: only water, soap, and poop down the drain!
WHAT ABOUT MY UNUSED DRUGS? Remember, your drain water gets processed, and that processed water is returned to our streams and lakes. But drugs cannot be removed from wastewater, and if those drugs do something to YOU if you swallow them, they do the same and WORSE to our fish, frogs, crabs, lobsters and all the water-loving plants in these streams and along the banks. To safely get rid of unused and unwanted drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, every drug store will be happy to take them back at no charge. Other stores sometimes do, too: our Sebastopol (Ace) Hardware has a "Drug-Disposal" can in front where you can safely get rid of your drugs. For free.
And remember: dumping the wrong things down the drain makes it more expensive to operate our plant; the more expensive it is, the higher your property tax bill will be. Even if you rent your home and don't pay a property tax bill yourself… your landlord will get that higher tax bill, so don't be surprised if one day YOUR rent goes up too.