In an effort to keep homeowners better informed about the current water situation, we wanted to provide a quick update on the status of our wells and the short and intermediate-term projects.
First, the PCE levels of our lead well, Well #1, are up to 2.7 parts per billion (ppb), versus the MCL of 5 ppb. This is increasing slowly but is not out of range based on historically seasonal numbers, so no red flag at this time.
The installation of uranium filtration for Wells #2 & #3 is proceeding, however, the initial testing & approvals needed prior to going live may take up to three weeks rather than the one week we had originally estimated. This pushes the likely completion date to the beginning of July (versus the original end of May goal). The unknown at this point is the time it’ll take to get the necessary approvals to begin operation. Our Water Company, Dan Larson, is keeping the various agencies appraised of our plans and progress.
Despite this delay, there is some good news. Kudos goes to Dan Larson for some positive developments on Well #3. He is engineering a bypass/blending approach that would allow us to increase the capacity of Well #3 while keeping uranium levels below half the MCL. We won’t know for sure until we begin testing, but estimates are we might get as much as 1400 gallons per minute (gpm) from Well #3 versus the original estimate of 800 gpm.
The inter-tie with Lukins Brothers Water Company (LBWC) is proceeding, however, STPUD has required that a backflow prevention device be installed, which wasn’t part of the original costs. Our Oversight Committee has recommend to the Board to approve this additional $40k in expenditure. Likewise, the installation of a backflow prevention device on the STPUD inter-tie is going through the permitting process.
The good news is that the estimated completion date for the Lukins inter-tie is now early July, rather than the end of July. This means that come early July, fingers crossed, we may have close to 3300 gpm in capacity! If the blending approach works for Well #3, then even without Lukins we’d have 2800 gpm.
Given this, the Oversight Committee is revising the plans & timeline for relaxing the rules on homeowner irrigation. We won’t know for sure until closer to the time, given the nature of the projects, but we may be able to ease up on the irrigation prohibition in early July (possibly sooner). This will not be back to business as usual, however. As homeowners, we will all need to follow strict guidelines on who waters when and on which days to smooth out the water demand curve and avoid unnecessary spikes.
Part of the long-term facilities plan is to look at sources of grant money to help offset our potential project costs going forward. Our engineering firm, MC Engineering, has been looking into this and it appears we may even be about to apply for grants to offset some of the $1.4MM already committed for the short and intermediate-term actions. Of course, this is likely to be a long, drawn-out process, but the plan is to start applying for grants as soon as possible.
That’s it for now, we’ll endeavor to keep homeowners informed as the situation develops and our Water Company is committed to ensuring we have safe drinking water first and foremost and hopefully restoring some level of landscape irrigation in the not too distant future.