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The Public Hearing for South Suburban Sanitary District (SSSD) Type II application to store and irrigate with recycled water has been rescheduled due to the Governor Executive Order of no meetings of over 25 people, according to a news release.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 26 at 6 p.m. at the John Hancock Arena at the Klamath County Fairgrounds. A crowd of around 400 people is expected for the hearing.

In February a scheduled Klamath County Planning Commission meeting at the Klamath County Government Center was overrun by crowds beyond the space allotted, resulting in a postponement vote of the hearing to April 1 at the Klamath County Fairgrounds to accommodate demand.

There are two pillars of land-use planning in the state of Oregon. Land use decisions must be open and transparent with public participation, and the applicant shall receive a decision in a timely manner. There are laws that dictate the process to follow and laws that dictate a decision must be completed within 150 days, including appeals. State law also dictates remedies if the procedures or timeframes are not followed. For the first time, these two pillars are in conflict with each other, due to crowd size limitations imposed in the wake of the coronavirus global pandemic.

SSSD, understanding the current situation, has agreed to extend their right to a decision within 150 days by 37 days. This allows the public comment hearing on this matter to be rescheduled to May 26, 2020.

According to a recent pilot study, treated effluent results met Class B levels of treatment. The application for recycled water use application includes quality levels ranging from Class C to Class B. Currently corps in the production plan require only Class D. It is estimated that the capital costs may increase by $3-4 million in order to consistently increase the level water quality from Class D to Class B-C.

In addition to animal feed stock, as allowed by Class D, Class C allows for the irrigation of processed food crops for human consumption; irrigation of orchards or vineyards; and landscape irrigation of golf courses and cemeteries. Class B beneficial uses include all of Class C through D uses, with the addition of commercial and residential fire suppression.

The plan has drawn criticism from residents in the vicinity of the planned site, raising concerns ranging from affected property values to potential health impacts.