Wednesday, 25 July 2007 01:35

Joint Water Committee Meets: Lack of Martell Sewer Capacity Discussed

The Joint Water Committee, made up of members of the Board of Supervisors and Water Agency Board of Directors met this week to discuss the current water and wastewater matters in the county.

Monday morning there was a County Administrative Committee meeting where the purpose was to address the water supply for the Carbondale Industrial Park and the current concerns with the wells. According to staff a request from a neighboring business, US Tile, has been received to lease the water wells at the Carbondale site for use for the company’s tile plant. According to plant manager Pat Carney, the company is under pressure to develop another water source and this solution has the greatest benefit to all. The ideal solution discussed and brought forward to the Joint Committee meeting would be to create a long term lease agreement, as opposed to actually deeding ownership of the wells to US Tile. This is however an ongoing matter with staff directed to look into legal matters regarding a water lease in the next few days to meet the company’s dead lines. Boral Inc., the parent company of US Tile announced last year their intentions to upgrade the Ione plant with an investment $27.5 million dollars  to build a new clay tile facility in Ione. The new plant will produce 130,000 squares¹ of tile annually and is expected to be operational in the December 2007 quarter.  

The water supply pipeline to the City of Plymouth, is coming along well it was reported. The Water Agency is still working with the city for easement procurement, but the design phase is now 99.9% complete. The project is proposed to go out to bid by the end of this year with construction slated to start next year. A few weeks back the Board of Supervisors approved the use of the Water Development Fund to explore feasibility of increasing water supply; however they have decided there is a need to revise the language of the initial proposal. The Water Agency will return to this matter once they receive the revised proposal from the Supervisors. There was then a discussion at the meeting on capacity constraints in regards to the ARSA/Sutter Creek wastewater system. The contract that ARSA and the city of Sutter Creek agreed upon requires Sutter Creek to provide capacity of 480,000 gallons per day. The current capacity for the city is actually closer to 380,000 gallons per day. The initial contract indicated how the city will expand their current system and a letter which was then sent from the Water Agency to the city of Sutter Creek asking that the city initially expand its capacity by 50,000 gallons per day in the next 3 years. The letter was never responded to by the city according to water agency officials. The city’s capacity restraints have been evident for sometime and now with the current influx of restaurants and other businesses in the Martell area the problem has only grown to a near crisis. If the Gold Rush project is approved by the City of Sutter Creek and the development begins its build out the city of Sutter Creek will have enough developer buy in and financial support to build their new tertiary, or sewer, plant.

However, it was discussed at the Joint Water Meeting, that if the Gold Rush is not approved for development the city still plans on building a new sewer plant, however it will take longer. A decision was then reached that Amador Water Agency General Manager Jim Abercrombie and ARSA Executive Director and Sutter City manager Rob Duke will need to meet and talk about solutions to the capacity issue, as well as the time lines associated with a fix. This issue must be looked at closely and a resolution quickly achieved it was stated. The Regional Wastewater Plant site was selected in Martell, however the site is still undisclosed. The Water Agency is now looking into disposal areas and reclamation sites, estimated costs and sizing should be coming before the committee soon. As for the Camanche area Wastewater plan- the agency has identified a reclamation site, and are awaiting confirmation that it is an acceptable area to dispose of wastewater. This will come before the water agency board soon.