Announcements - Kevin Phillips, PID District Manager
Bottled Water distribution at Nazarene Church will be ending in Spring. Water filling stations will remain.
If you are living on your lot temporarily, please sign up with PID so they can schedule service line replacement. Submit this notification form on their website or call PID at (530) 877-4971.
Division 2 has a Board Member opening – accepting applications until 4 PM on February 12, 2020. Division 2 is mostly west of Skyway below Bille Road (detailed map). See the Board of Directors page on the PID website for more information.
Water Service Basics 1-hour informational sessions will be held February 27, March 26, and April 30 – all at 10 AM – in PID board room – designed for contractors and DIYers. Click link for each date for more info.
PID received a grant from Butte Strong Fund to purchase and distribute 5 gallon water jugs that can be used at filling stations. The jugs will be available in March at the PID office and the Hope Center on lower Skyway at Neal. These can be used for emergency water storage as well.
Standing Structure Testing – Michael Lindquist, WaterWorks Engineers
The process: They are working to test the main and service line for each standing structure. Before sampling, they stagnate the water for at least 72 hours (if the structure is occupied they’ll set-up a hose-over for water supply during stagnation). They sample both the service line and the main and send the samples to an accredited lab. They get results back in about a week. The data goes through quality control and is reviewed by a committee to determine if PID can lift the Water Quality Advisory (WQA), deeming the water potable at that address.
If contamination is detected, PID will schedule replacement of the service line.
There are a total of ~1500 standing structures. Tomorrow (1/22/2020), the 1400th site is in preparation and will be sampled by end of week. They are on track to complete testing for all standing structures by mid to end of March.
They are intentionally moving the sampling efforts randomly around the district to monitor the system at large to ensure they detect if contamination is moving around in the system. They have not detected any contamination moving around the system.
In answer to public question at the end: Are there maps on your website that show areas where water is clean? YES! Maps on the website show testing results for water mains and service lines, as well as WQA advisory lifted addresses. Also, if anyone comes into the customer service office, staff can walk anyone through the maps.
Replacement of Service Lines – Colleen Boak, WaterWorks Engineers
Replacement is triggered for standing structures where contamination was detected, destroyed structures with rebuilds in progress, and lots used for temporary housing will be added in next month or so.
Replacements are done by PID staff and contractors. To date 188 total locations have had the WQA lifted (a combination of standing structures and destroyed) after replacement of the service line.
Steps to lift WQA with replacement of service line:
Service Line Replacement triggered for scheduling by a building permit or standing structure with contamination detected (temporarily living on property will be added soon).
PID staff and/or contractors go to the address and locate the service line and mark its location – this is sometimes challenging due to age of system and different levels of info for different parts of town. They will “pot hole” – meaning they dig a hole in street to find the connection of the service line to main. At times they have to dig more than one to find it. Further, they don’t know the condition and material type until they open it up – they determine the specific needs for replacement at that time. Finally they replace the line and back-fill, then re-establish water service.
The PID Water Quality Committee then reviews the condition of main in the area and the entire system delivering water to that address before lifting the Water Quality Advisory (WQA) at that address.
An outside contractor has been working with PID staff since November. They have needed to work through some challenges in their process. Once they open up the connection of the service line to the main, it involves some on-site engineering to determine the materials required for that specific replacement. At times they also find leaks when they open, which will be fixed before back-filling. Other work with utilities in town affects planning and safety (ex tree work, PG&E undergrounding, etc). They need to ensure proper offsets from other utilities. Winter weather hampers progress at times.
They are shifting addresses often, moving the replacement efforts all around the district to support rebuilds as they near final inspection. Coordinating build progress and logistics as needed to avoid holding up Certificates of Occupancy as much as possible.
The contractor is scoped to replace 650 service lines by May 2020 – this was meant to be a short term augmentation to help PID ramp up. PID staff will address the majority of replacements over time. As of today, 65 service lines have been replaced with another 40 replacements in progress. They doubled the progression rate from month #1 to month #2; they expect continued increases in rate of replacement.
Status: Damage Assessment of Meters. Now that they are confident they have a good understanding of the contamination issue and they are underway with service line replacement to support rebuilds or standing structures with contamination, they can focus some energy to assess the meters and make a plan for their replacement.
As they sample, they pull the meters and bring them in to PID to assess. Based on the picture of the contamination issue as a whole, in which 53% of burned lots have some level of contamination, they would expect ~53% of meters to likewise be damaged.
Of those assessed to date: 20% have some physical damage, 53% have some internal damage. Based on this, PID is asking FEMA for approval to simply replace all meters (similar to the service lines, this will actually be cheaper than testing/assessing meter-by-meter). When the replace the meters, they plan to replace them with more hardened infrastructure – using brass meters and concrete boxes. This will further mitigate the risk of damage in the event of future fire.
PID hopes to start meter replacement in the summer – they will start charging for water use again at that time.
For all new construction/burnt lots there is a requirement for backflow prevention.
For standing structures it depends: if you didn’t have a backflow prevention device before the fire and nothing has changed between then and now, there is no current requirement for backflow prevention. If any structure on the lot burned (like a garage), you will need backflow prevention. If you brought in a tank for temporary water with an installed pump, backflow prevention is required.
In answer to public question: PID continues to pursue FEMA reimbursement for backflow prevention devices. If reimbursement is granted, customers will be refunded for the cost. The devices are a little trickier since it isn’t the replacement of something that had been in place before the fire (such as in the case of the service line or meter), but PID is arguing that their installation is an important hazard mitigation to prevent future damage to the water distribution system.
In answer to public question: PID is exploring options to help with backflow prevention costs. One potential avenue is a Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG – DR) Program, which is funds thru FEMA to help with rebuilding in an area struck by disaster. PID will also be talking with NVCF. There may be outside organizations that can help individuals with those costs. There was a public comment suggestion to check with insurance companies for potential reimbursement as a new requirement (code upgrade) too.
The B-Reservoir was severely damaged in the fire. PID had already planned to replace it before the fire, but FEMA funding is now possible. PID is asking for FEMA to pay for upgrades to the B-Reservoir: 2 steel tanks on the B-res site, each with 2.3 million gallon capacity (an increase in total storage from 3 million to 5.6 million) – the increase in storage will support additional fire protection if it is ever needed. If FEMA doesn't approve increased storage capacity, they will pursue the same plan with smaller tanks.
PID hopes construction on the replacement tanks begins in summer.
In answer to public question at end of meeting: Any plans for storage of more water in town to improve fire protection? – Yes, primarily via expansion of B-Reservoir capacity. PID is also working to get approval for a hazard mitigation grant to run a second main line from the water treatment plant into town for redundancy. They are also looking to upsize main pipe diameters and add additional hydrants for some streets.
PID has lost 90% of its customers, so a significant percentage of its revenue. They received 2 years of back-fill funding from the State of California. With that, PID agreed to undergo a consolidation feasibility study. This is not forced consolidation – but a wholistic look at how the State can help PID get through this period.
The State will conduct community input meetings to see what community wants from PID moving forward. PID also continues to look at other opportunities for potential revenue. PID encourages the public to attend those community input meetings and contribute to the process. These meetings will be announced via the PID website, press releases to the media, and on Facebook.
Current Billing Explained
In answer to public question about billing:
As of the fire and the Water Quality Advisory due to potential contamination from the fire, PID put all addresses on what they call a sealed billing rate (cutting the service fee about in half to close to $42 every 2 months).
Once a customer receives a letter of potability and the Water Quality Advisory is lifted for the address, the service fee for that address is restored back to the active rate of ~$84 every 2 months.
If a customer with potable water doesn’t want back on the active rate – the customer can go back to the sealed rate if they don’t want water on property – PID will come turn the water off on property – this is the same process as before the fire.
Magalia Dam Update
In answer to public question about the status of the Magalia Dam:
PID has a contract to inspect dam for damage – appears in good shape but want dam engineer to inspect for damage as they do the regular annual inspection.
PID has applied for a hazard mitigation grant to look at dam in terms of potential earthquake, flood, and other hazard mitigation. They hope to find funds to replace the dam in the near future.
They could rebuild the dam in place or replace it upstream to get the road off of it.
Public suggestion: Rebuild the dam behind the existing dam to establish a second two-lane road between Paradise and Magalia.
Next Community Update
The next PID Community Update meeting will be held in March.