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The Montecito Sanitary District is an independent special district voted into existence in 1947, by the residents of Montecito to provide for the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater. In 1961, the District constructed a secondary plant capable of processing 750,000 gallons per day, including ocean outfall (located 1500 feet offshore) and trunk sewer system.  Twenty years later, voters approved $3.1 million in revenue bonds to incorporate new technology, double the plant’s capacity to 1.5 million gallons per day, implement more stringent testing procedures and provide emergency power. The District’s mission has always been “to protect public health and safety and to preserve the natural environment through the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater in the most cost-effective way possible.
The District provides service to approximately 10,000 people through 3,100 service connections. It maintains approximately 78 miles of sewer pipelines and four pumping stations. The District's collection system is predominantly vitrified clay pipe (VCP) with some areas of polyvinyl chloride pipe (PVC) & asbestos cement pipe (ACP).

One of Montecito Sanitary District’s preservation aims is the biological oxidation, drying and disposal of biosolids to use as a soil amendment. The District is also part of a study by UCSB that is monitoring the microbiology of the District’s outflow wastewater plume.  This study will observe the outflow and conduct microbiological measurements from water samples collected in the plume waters.

The District has been very successful over the past eight years in reducing sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). Preventive maintenance programs are in place and ongoing capital improvements to the collection system have also contributed to the District's excellent record.