Monday, April 21, 2014

GDPUD revisits water plant plans with engineer

From page A1 | September 06, 2013 | 23 Comments

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CONSULTING ENGINEER Webb Owen presents his report to the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District board. Democrat photo by Dawn Hodson

Providing his assessment of what to do about the Auburn Lake Trails Water Treatment Plant, consulting engineer Webb Owen presented his findings at a special meeting of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Wednesday.

Present for the meeting were Directors Bonnie McLane, Kathy Otermat and Maria Capraun. Directors Ray Griffiths and Norm Krizl were absent.

Owen concluded that the board should proceed with plans for the retrofit of the plant, although he offered the board some options for saving money on its final design.

In his report, Owen noted that the existing plant does not meet existing regulatory requirements for domestic water treatment plants and has been in violation of a compliance order issued by the California Department of Public Health for the last nine years.

“The district really doesn’t have a choice but to go ahead with the project,” he said.

Currently the ALT plant uses an in-line filtration treatment. The compliance order requires ALT to move to an approved multi-barrier filtration treatment process.

Some residents questioned why ALT could not be retrofitted the same way Walton Plant had been. Owen said that option was evaluated in a prior engineering report and was not found to be cost-effective. In addition, there was the problem of the age of the ALT facilities. “The result of all of these studies is that a two-stage process is the more prudent and cost-effective treatment process for the ALTWTP,” he concluded.

Owen recommended that GDPUD proceed with the project as proposed by previous engineers using a “Trident” two-stage system. He noted that, “the process is proven; the process is CDPH-approved; and this process will provide 30 percent more removal of total organic carbon.”

Since ALT has almost used up its useful life, Owen recommended against trying to modify the existing plant saying, “In my opinion, it would cost almost as much and possibly more to bring this facility into compliance. At the same time, the resulting facility would have a shorter planned useful life. The actual result would be to place a greater financial burden on the users than to build the proposed facility.”

Owen also advised against starting over, saying he didn’t think other solutions would reduce the construction costs and could result in even higher costs. He noted the district had already spent more than $400,000 on engineering studies and contract documents and that would be lost money if the district began again.

In response to a question regarding cost, Owen explained that the plant was more expensive than originally planned due to engineers not including certain elements such as “a raw water pump station, complete recycle water processing, solids drying, or the costs necessary to work on this site.” In addition, prices had gone up since work on the plans had begun.

Initially cost estimates in 2009 prepared by both Carlton Engineers and Peterson and Brustad Engineers put the price of the plant at $5.8 million. Psomas Engineering later arrived at three different estimates that ranged from $6.1 million to $9.8 million.

Since then the district has put the plans for the plant out to bid with the low bid coming in at $10.8 million.

Owen concluded by saying, “The bids received indicate that the low bid is competitive and the engineer’s estimate is simply not enough to represent this project’s cost. In order to effectively bring the cost down, some things will have to be revised or removed.”

Explaining that the ALT design is not a “Cadillac” plant, he nonetheless advised that some components could be postponed and possibly never built to help reduce the cost and not jeopardize the function. The report listed 17 items that could be revised or removed, shaving approximately $920,000 to $1.2 million off the total price of the project, although Owen acknowledged those were only estimates and had to be used with “extreme caution.”

Some of the most expensive items he recommended modifying or eliminating altogether included: a second chlorine contact tank; revisions to the chemical feed system; eliminating an extra standby generator; changing how solid waste is processed; and making changes to the electrical and instrumentation requirements.

Owen concluded his report by recommending modifying the design of the plant, but doing so only after consulting with Psomas as well as the low bidder on the plant. He also recommended against certain cost saving ideas, saying they could result in compromised service, higher costs, and rejection by CDPH.

With the ball now in GDPUD’s court, Interim General Manager Gary Hoffmann said he would meet with Operations Manager Kelly Shively and Psomas to get their perspective on why the 17 items identified by Owen had been added to the plant’s design. However, Hoffmann cautioned that, “Any changes to the design cost money. It’s whether making the change will benefit you in a lower cost that you’re not just eating up by paying the engineer to redesign.”

Hoffman also reminded the board it still has a decision to make regarding whether or not to award the bid and funding the plant remains an issue. GDPUD has until Dec. 20 if it wants to apply to CDPH for a loan, although they still have access to a Prop 50 grant as well as funding from the EPA. A loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is also an option.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.


Discussion | 23 comments

  • R. Keenan - Pilothill, CASeptember 05, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    If I recall correctly last time two female Directors missed a last minute special meeting, Director Norm Krizl called them "derelict in their duties". How come Dawn didn't ask any of the female Directors for their comments regarding the missing in action Directors Norm Krizl and Ray Griffiths? Oh, because if the shoe's on the other foot, best to leave alone, right Dawn, you poor excuse for a reporter?

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  • EvelynSeptember 05, 2013 - 1:04 pm

    Perhaps Krizl is out shaking hands (or whatever), preparatory for a BOS run?

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  • EvelynSeptember 05, 2013 - 1:11 pm

    P.S. Personally, I don't think he would have a hope in Hades, but if a BOS run would shake him loose from GDPUD, then I say: "Go for it, Norm."

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  • Foaming at the MouthSeptember 05, 2013 - 4:11 pm

    Existing plant is a violation - check. No choice but to move ahead - check. Can't retrofit - check. Starting over would cost more - check. Cost went up because of incomplete plans and delays - check. Not a Cadillac design - check. There may be cost-saving changes, but they might also increase total cost - check. Funding is still available and the low bid is still on the table, but the windows are closing - check. But hey, let's rag on the reporter and the absent Board member who predicted all of the above - now that's the kind of foaming I love!

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  • M JonesSeptember 05, 2013 - 7:24 pm

    Things to remember. The issue of the District not having enough money to pay for the cost of the plant. The fact that the prop 218 for the $5 million dollar loan was not enough, plus the District did not have the loan only the application for the funding. The board took action to understand and see how to cut cost to address the money to pay for this plant. All knew it was required, but addressing the project from all angles needed to be done. Simple terms you cannot pay for a 10 million dollar plant with 8 million dollars. I think that the Board has done the right thing to get an outside opinion. After reading the report, the questions asked by some of the public and two of the Board members more than 2 years ago are finally answered.

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  • SparkySeptember 06, 2013 - 7:19 am

    GDPUD's plant problems are not new nor should they come as a surprise. A plan to resolve those problems is what seems to be escaping the newbies. Their stubborn penny pinching inaction or paralysis by analysis, or it was not my person to did the report so it can not be true mantra is on display for all who choose to see. The impact of state regulations passed a decade ago are now costing all small water purveyors and their customers throughout the state. Another back handed tax. Most critics focus too much on the cult of personality rather than the root causes such as over regulation by the state. The potential future of EID is on display at every GDPUD meeting. Public agency dysfunctional ineptitude is not a pretty picture. PS: Foaming nailed it...

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  • Dink LaneSeptember 06, 2013 - 12:12 pm

    Why hasn't EID bothered to investigate options BEFORE spending money? If they would've been as cautious at GDPUD..... EID wouldn't have a $400 million shortfall...

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  • GDPUD Watch DogSeptember 06, 2013 - 3:45 pm

    Dear Foaming, I suggest you go to and read every board packet and listen to board meeting records. Sounds like you swallowed a bunch of Krizl BS and it tasted good to you. Here's my take after a thorough review of all GDPUD documents and records I could get my hands on: Retrofit twin water treatment plant, Walton Lake in 2006 - check, allow Auburn Lake Treatment plant to degrade while planning a new plant - check, waste several hundreds of thousands of $ to design Greenwood Lake treatment plant to replace ALT - check, pass Prop 218 to fund new Greenwood Lake treatment plant - check, overbuilding Greenwood Lake Treatment plant plans and gross mismanagement and lack of Board guidance creates an unaffordable $20 million plant which GDPUD cannot afford - check, abandon new Greenwood Lake treatment plant (without any formal board action) but continue to collect the rate hikes which were primarily for the new Greenwood Lake treatment plant - check, under the guidance of the same incompetent GM Hank White and pro-White majority board plans for a NEW (not a retrofit) plant next to existing ALT plant are begun - check, it takes 4 years for the plans to be complete (yet the new majority are in office 9 months and GM White and Director Krizl try to deflect blame to them - HILARIOUS!) - check, when asked by Director Otermat if the USDA Loan is still approved even though plant cost has almost doubled, White lies and says yes - check, GM Hank White becomes aware that the house of cards he built is falling and a new majority board will surely expose his gross incompetency so he abandons ship (thank you!) - check, Interim General Manager Kelly Shively recommends that a RFP, cost now at $9.2 million, be sent out, with the ever so slight chance some low bids will come in lower than projected, majority board agrees in order to confirm the cost will be more than GDPUD can afford so RFP goes out - check, GDPUD majority hires interim GM Gary Hoffmann who comes with the experience and professionalism to provide honest guidance to the Board - check, Low bid comes in at $10.2, more than GDPUD can afford - check, while researching the project IGM Hoffman discovers GM White lied and there was no approved funding for project (whoopsy on Hank White!) - check, IGM Hoffman discovers that GDPUD never had the plans approved by CA Dept of Public Health who had the compliance order (whoopsy on Hank White and Kelly Shively!) - check. So for "Foamin at the Mouth", I thank the new Board majority for taking a grip on the major problems at GDPUD (GM incompetency and Board lack of oversight), they are now getting valid information that will allow them to make informed decisions to repair damage from the last 10+ years that GM White and prior Boards (Norm Krizl there for 10+ years). The new majority started a Public Finance Committee who presented to the Board a picture of the financial status of the Board with information verified by the GDPUD CPA. Under-funded reserves, years of deficits, lack of over-spending corrections have GDPUD "headed for catastrophe". Krizl, who is known for rants and no constructive guidance, tells the committee rep he is "just plain wrong". If Krizl got off his butt and asked questions, verified information and was truthful to his constituents that would be one thing, but he would rather blow out BS and I see it is as a very good thing that more and more people are speaking out about his dereliction of duties.

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  • Smart Blond from Cool, CASeptember 06, 2013 - 3:59 pm

    Bravo, GDPUD Watchdog! Don't forget the comments made by IGM Hoffman and Webb Owen that in all their years (25+ of reviewing RFPs that they have never seen an RFP request just a grand total without itemized cost expenditures. Ditto by the low cost contractor. All said this was highly unusual. Having a brother who has a business that does work for local agencies, he was approached by a purchasing manager that he would get a 10% kickback, and preferred method was to ask for a grand total that way if the project was audited there couldn't be a line item review of the response vs. actuals. I mentioned how the GDPUD RFP went out and his first response was "so someone was planning on skimming off the top". Very interesting. Not sure if this is a smoking gun but I would send this info to the grand jury.

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  • Rusty NailSeptember 06, 2013 - 4:48 pm

    Sparky ........ when you have a spare minute or three say a word or two about what it was FatM nailed. Everyone's hoping FatM makes a speedy recovery.

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  • Greg S., GreenwoodSeptember 06, 2013 - 8:30 pm

    Dear Foaming (is it rabies or what?), sounds like you think Norm Krizl had it right all along. If the Divide voters and ratepayers had been happy with the job the former majority ( Krizl, Bonnie Neeley, Bob Diekon and Mike Cooper) were doing they'd still be in power. Fortunately, only Krizl remains. Without a new majority, Hanki White would be in place, there would still be no approved funding, the plans would still not have not been approved by CA Dept of public health, the district could still not afford it but WORST of all the complacent lazy, extremely arrogant former majority of directors would still be in the dark and therefore not making the corrective actions that the new majority Board and new interim GM are making. Does that sound like a scenario we customers would want? I'm sorry but the majority of the public is very happy with the prograss we are hearing (literally hearing via meeting audio files because Dawn Hodson will not report anything positive). So Foaming, the bottomline is that GDPUD had an incompetent GM and prior Boards who allowed this GM to deteriorate the District. They made no corrections and as much as I don't like Hank White's legacy of being the most over-paid, incompetent GM one could imagine, the buck really stops with the prior Boards. Pointing out that Norm Krizl is severely derelict in his duties, is what is absolutely required on the ever so minor chance that he will man up and start being a Director who will work to make the Board more functional and less a stage for his rants trying to deflect from his piss-poor job as a director by criticizing his female colleagues.

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  • Craig Kysilka, Cool, CA (2nd home)September 06, 2013 - 8:51 pm

    it really is up to us rate and taxpayers to do our homework on GDPUD issues and not just take one side or another's word. Ever since I started listening to the meeting audios, it so apparent that the male Directors Krizl and Griffith really do not hold a candle to the female majority Directors. I've listened to one year of meetings and truly Krizl and Griffiths just create inefficient meetings by roaring and ranting, while Directors McLane, Capraun and Otermat are the only Directors who take the lead on GDPUD agenda topics besides the GM. Honest to God - this is the truth! We voted for Krizl when he ran for Supervisor (Thank God he LOST!) but I realize now I was ignorant on what kind of person he is. He speaks at GDPUD meetings with anger and disrespect. If meetings were in the evenings, I'd love to see him in action and stop him on the spot to ask why he has to behave so unprofessionally. I don't know why Dawn Hodson's reporting is so pro-Krizl but it is. So as someone encouraged me, I encourage all, including Foaming to go to and educate yourself on the facts. I'm curious if you have any clue or if providing ignorant salacious comments while you hide behind your alias, is what gives you kicks?

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  • Krizl for Supervisor!September 06, 2013 - 8:57 pm

    dear Foaming at the Mouth, why don't you just 'fess up and reveal your true identity Norm? ;-)

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  • What Goes Around Comes AroundSeptember 06, 2013 - 9:08 pm

    Oh my gosh! Can you imagine how much bigger Norm's head and belly would be if he were elected EDC Supervisor? He has obviously taken the stance to throw out angry BS, rather than remain composed, reflect and make some intelligent contributions to GDPUD. I am in agreement he threw the public under the bus while he was living high off GDPUD, with junkets to DC, Palm Desert, $420 steak dinners, etc. Sorry Norm, this is public information and it's not going away. And is it true you never claimed these gifts on your Form 700? Can we sick Vern Pierson on an elected scumbag?

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  • R. KeenanSeptember 06, 2013 - 9:24 pm

    GDPUD Watch Dog - YOU nailed it! Thank you. FatM , you lost round one, care to start another round? Smart Blond - hmmm 10% off $12M, would have been a nice retirement for some unethical person/people. Just sayin'! Evelyn, you're right Krizl wouldn't stand a chance if he ran for District 4 Supervisor. Waaaaaaayyyy to much dirt that is coming out on Norman! But who knows, the size of his ego and ignorance on how much the public is learning about him may not stop him from running. Found out by reading GDPUD Board Meeting minutes that in 2010 Norm thought he was a shoe in to win and asked that the Board be prepared to go through a Director replacement process. Now that I think of it, that was the only agenda topic he instigated. Let history show Norm lost and he remained on the GDPUD Board.

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  • Foaming at the MouthSeptember 06, 2013 - 10:02 pm

    My my, the foam runneth over! To recap, I am obviously Norm Krizl, we know somebody's skimming ten percent off a bid that has 't even been accepted because... well, because we hate everyone except Laundromat, McLame, and What's Her Name, and all kinds of dirt is coming out on Krizl/me, such as ... well, such as the same stuff you guys have been talking about for over a year now. Meanwhile, GDPUD's new majority continues to make zero progress on fixing their unsafe drinking water problems. This is the best sandbox Foaming has ever played in!

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  • Jack PodsedlySeptember 07, 2013 - 7:30 am

    GDPUD has foaming EID has Phil. What is good out of this is that the community is learning the truth. All they have to do is listen to the tapes online and make their own decision. What blows me away is that after all the harm they have done, Norm and Ray are still on the board. No conscience or stupidity, take your pick!!!!

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  • Cecil-observer fm CamParkSeptember 07, 2013 - 4:21 pm

    Looks like Foaming has no ground to make any factual debate on. If that was your best response, very weak old chap.

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  • Cecil-observer fm CamParkSeptember 07, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    p.s. I believe having valid information for the first time is making progress. Listen to the meeting audio FatM, unless your ears are foaming too. Next steps were clearly outlined. No more spinning their wheels under past GMs. Listen FatM at your ignorance about GDPUD issues won't be do glaring to those of us that do.

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  • Mousie Blond from Cool, CASeptember 07, 2013 - 4:57 pm

    FatM gets 1 free bonus point for not being Norm Krizl.

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  • Foamie Mouth®September 07, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    Me too not Krizl, and while we're at it, it is sooooooooo tiresome that FatM borrows some of my name. About time he tried thinking for hisself.

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  • Linda RexallSeptember 09, 2013 - 6:01 pm

    It's funny to watch the Foaming chick backpedal. But, I will add one comment that should not go overlooked. This is, again, the fact that there WERE NO itemized expenses included in the prior bid - a very standard inclusion that left our new Mr. Owen with his jaw on the floor. This is why Hank White is gone and Norman Krizl are leaving. Itemizing costs are what show where waste is and raise valid suspicion around jobs being given to local contractors, with questionable qualifications, that are old pals with Hank (now fired) and Krizl (on his way out). I can only hope that Foresthill sees through this or who wants to bet some local Georgetown contractors get some sweet gigs up in that area?!? When you own the media, the money and the decision maker, the only people that can stop you are the people. We are now seeing what this looks like.'s foaming ugly.

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  • K. Gilmore, Cool, CASeptember 11, 2013 - 6:26 pm

    As a former debate coach, I used to tell my students, when you don't have the facts on your side, start foamin at the mouth or ranting (Krizl)! I am so happy that arrogant aholes like White and Krizl are being exposed. What the heck will Dawn Hodson right about now? For whatever reason (we believe, editor Raffety is part of the good old corrupt boys network) she sided with the arrogant imbeciles. What is she to do now? My husband and I are so happy 3 directors have hired pros to help cleanup the District. When is Krizl going to just go away in shame? Oh that's right, he's too egotistical to ever gift us with that. He'll continue deflecting, ranting, and wasting a seat on the Board.

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