County of Marin - News Releases - Marshall Wastewater System

For Immediate Release
April 12, 2016

Marshall Celebrates New Wastewater System

Project improves environmental health on shoreline of Tomales Bay

San Rafael, CA – Public health officials in Marin County are celebrating the success of a multimillion-dollar wastewater project in the West Marin community of Marshall that improves water quality near Tomales Bay. Local residents are invited to join the celebration April 20 at Tony’s Seafood in Marshall.

A new septic tank is installed near the shore of Tomales Bay.A new septic tank is installed near the Tomales Bay shore in Marshall.
It’s a victory for the Environmental Health Services Division of the Marin County Community Development Agency (CDA), which has been involved in the planning for decades. February 2016 marked the completion of Phase 2 of the Marshall Community Wastewater System, a project that serves about 50 properties on the eastern shore of Tomales Bay. Phase 2 cost $1.2 million, bringing the final total to $3.21 million.

“This has been a community project from the start, dating back to a detailed study of individual septic systems in 2002,” said Lorene Jackson, CDA Project Manager. “This is a big milestone that culminates years of hard work by the community, the County, the state and the Environmental Protection Agency.”

The need for a modernized septic system was first identified in 1974 when a state water quality study found that shellfish in the bay showed higher-than-normal levels of bacteria. Scientists traced the problem to fecal matter from failing septic systems and nearby dairies, and it was exacerbated in 1998 by a viral epidemic that affected 171 people who had consumed locally harvested shellfish.

Local property owners voted to form a special assessment district in 2007 to help pay for Phase 1 of the community system, and more properties joined for Phase 2 in 2011. Property owners are paying for their portion of the construction, as well as annual operation and maintenance of the system.

Today, wastewater is collected from septic tanks on each property and conveyed by pressurized pipeline to a community-scale treatment system, then discharged to land in a community leachfield located on a six-acre parcel donated by Corey Goodman and Marcia Barinaga; the County paid $32,874 as part of the deal. Other funding for the project came from grants by the County of Marin, the California Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“We’re very happy to say we’re coming in on target with the budget,” Jackson said.

Supporting partners on the project included the East Shore Planning Group, the Tomales Bay Watershed Council, the California Department of Public Health, the Marin County Resource Conservation District, the Tomales Bay Shellfish Technical Advisory Committee, Caltrans, the California Coastal Commission, the San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Marin County Department of Public Works’ Real Estate Division.

The April 20 gathering begins at 3:00 p.m. at Tony’s Seafood, 18663 Shoreline Highway in Marshall.


Rebecca Ng
Deputy Director of Environmental Health Services
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 236
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6907
Email: Rebecca Ng
Environmental Health Services