Work on the next section of the Mother Lode Forcemain will soon get under way after the El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors voted to OK a construction bid on the project.
During the regular meeting of the board Oct. 9, directors, after hearing heated public comments gave a thumbs up to the $1.225 million funding needed for repair of the pipeline.
“The Mother Lode Forcemain is a critical part of our facility,” said senior engineer Mike Brink. “It extends from the town of El Dorado down to Cameron Park. It was installed in 1979 and consists of eight miles of 12-inch asbestos cement pipe.”
He added the forcemain has a gravity line at the end.
“About 35 percent of the forecemain has been replaced to date,” he said. “Hydrogen sulfite gas has collected at high points of the pipeline and weakened it over the years. The most recent break occurred in March of 2012. When this facility is out of service, we can’t turn off the water, the stuff keeps flowing.”
He added parts of the pipe are like paper mache and can easily break.
The project, dubbed Phase 2b, will replace about 3,500 linear feet of line within Durock Road in Shingle Springs with new 20-inch PVC forcemain. The new line will encompass the area of the March line break.
The work starts at the South Shingle exit of Highway 50, continues along Durock Road and extends west between Product Drive and Business Drive.
The project went out for bid in June with Doug Veerkamp General Engineering Inc. bidding the lowest at $999,999.97. A public meeting was held in August.
“This project is withing a public right of way which is subject to a county encroachment permit,” Brink said. “As we do, we negotiate terms with the county. For this project, the county did require that we chip seal the one lane that we impair by our trench.”
Brink added under a reimbursement agreement with the county, EID would pay $27,000.
In addition to the bid, EID staff asked for capitalized labor fees of $99,000, county encroachment permit inspection, $15,000, Paragon compaction testing at $12,000 and a project contingency at $100,000 totaling $1.225 million.
Brink said the project was originally listed in the 2011 Capital Improvement Plan. It was not included in the 2012 CIP but because of the recent break, EID staff brought it forward and determined there is funding available in capital reserves.
“Here’s an example of a project that we identified in this year’s CIP as a Priority 2,” said EID General Jim Abercrombie. “It’s not a mandated project. It’s not a safety-related project, but clearly you can see by the picture of the assets completely failing, that it’s Priority 2. Out of the total CIP that the board just approved, I would say 99 percent of it is either Priority 1 or 2. It’s not nice to do projects. It’s not a Christmas list as I saw in some of the e-mails being sent around. It’s a critical project to maintain safe, reliable wastewater services to our community.”
The directors agreed but some county residents, don’t quite see things so clearly.
“I guess I am just weary of poorly planned projects,” said Camino resident Sue Taylor. “I think your’re increasing the main and that’s to help further growth in that area. Why do we have to keep building future infrastructure for future growth, especially when the economy is in the toilet? I know EID is moving the water over here for a future possible interchange at Ray Lawyer Drive for a future, possible courthouse. The ratepayers are paying for this.”
She asked that EID be more sensible and suggested EID relocate to a smaller facility to save money.
Director Bill George said the Environmental Impact Report for the project had been done in 2001 and was not some vehicle for some developer.
“And the thought of replacing a 12-inch line that was planned 30, 40 years ago with another 12-inch line with a ‘well maybe we can put another eight-inch line in later,’ just does not make economic sense,” George said. “I don’t understand why you don’t want to do this.”
Taylor said she didn’t want to bear the cost for it. She then agreed the plan made sense.
“I guess I’m still angry that we built $60 million worth of infrastructure in El Dorado Hills. That’s on the back of the ratepayers,” she said. “It was speculation on future growth. EID shouldn’t be speculating on future growth. You talk that a lot of this is going to be funded on future FCC’s (one-time fees paid by anyone building a new structure).
Director George Osborne said the board doesn’t like spending money or raising rates but repairs need to be done.
When public comment time ended Drectors Osborne, George, John Fraser, George Wheeldon and Alan Day voted unanimously to approve the construction contract.