At its November 29 meeting, the board approved $106,500 for the general manager’s plan to buy a new pump and put it 60 feet deeper into Well #4. The first steps, which may be completed in December, are to remove the pump house roof and pull the existing pump out of the well. Then the inside of the well casing will be surveyed with video, calipers, and a gyroscopic device to measure deviation from the vertical. If all goes well, a new and stronger pump and associated equipment ($51,000) will be ordered. Based on current lead times, it could be installed and online by April 15.
The April 15 date is important because without Well #4 online, the budget plan is to switch 100% to purchased water on May 1. (The switchover will occur when Well #6 is no longer able to supply 100 percent of our needs because mixing well water and imported water causes taste/odor problems.) If the project is successful, the cost will be totally repaid in 36 to 52 days by delaying the start of the switch to 100% purchased water.
The general manager cautioned that the deeper part of Well #4 may have lower quality water than has been pumped in recent years. There is a contingency plan for that. If high concentrations of iron and manganese are encountered, the treatment plant by Reservoir #3 could be restarted. The treatment plant was built in 1995 to treat water from Well #5 at that location and was last used in 2007. To repair the backwash tank and bring it up to code would cost $110,000 to $135,000. That would be the primary work, but other repairs and code enhancements may also be required. The general manager is working on a more detailed plan and budget.
It appears that all of the Well #4 and treatment plant work may be eligible for the 2021 Department of Water Resources Urban and Multibenefit Drought Relief Grant Program. Unfortunately, there are “hundreds and hundreds” of grant applications already pending and early applications are given priority until the funding runs out. Outfitting Well #4 with a more efficient pump may be eligible for a Southern California Edison rebate program.
It is regrettable the board did not approve this plan when it was first presented almost three years ago, or even a year or two later. That would have avoided about $365,000 of unbudgeted water purchases in 2021 and the huge 2022 water rate increases. We are sending a copy of this post to Crestview president Sol Chooljian and inviting him to answer this question in comments.