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Agency not waiting for a drought

Six pending water projects in the pipeline

Posted: October 27, 2008 7:47 p.m.
Updated: December 29, 2008 5:00 a.m.

New home construction is slow, but local water officials are pressing forward with six work projects that require changes to pipelines, treatment plants and pumping stations in anticipation of a massive increase in demand for water over the next 20 years.

Members of the Planning and Engineering Committee of the Castaic Lake Water Agency are recommending that the board approve work on six ongoing projects including cleanup of perchlorate on groundwater at the Whittaker-Bermite site and replacing old pipes at the pump station near Castaic Lake.
Water agency engineers found faulty non-aligned pipes when making repairs at the lake.

The statewide drought - as declared by Governor Schwarzenegger in June - created lower water levels at Castaic Lake which means water drawn for Santa Clarita Valley ratepayers must by pumped to a filtration plant near the lake.

When lake water levels are high, water drawn from the lake bypasses the existing pump station and feeds directly into the Earl Schmidt Filtration Plant.

Water must be conveyed to pumps at the Schmidt Intake Pump Station, however, when levels are low.
"Castaic Lake is supplied by other State Water Project ‘conservation facilities' that currently have low water levels - specifically San Luis Reservoir and Lake Oroville," the agency's Engineering and Operations Manager Brian J. Folsom wrote in an e-mail Monday.

"To the extent that those reservoirs are not replenished by Mother Nature this coming winter, the level in Castaic Lake may also be affected," he wrote.

Since low-level water must be pumped to the filtration plant, permanent fixes are needed.

"The pump cannot be reinstalled without modifications to the existing pipelines," he wrote.

Folsom and his staff recommend the city of Industry firm Lee & Ro, Inc., assess the problem and come up with solutions.

Projects requiring work include:

n Planning and design modifications to the Earl Schmidt Intake Pump Station. 

n Planning and preliminary design are needed to improve drainage and paving to the Earl Schmidt Filtration Plant.

n Planning and design are needed to relocate the security guard kiosk at the entrance to Central Park on Bouquet Canyon Road for the Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant.

n Remodeling and evaluation of the entire water system.

n Work order changes must be made on the Perchlorate Pipeline Project to maintain groundwater production, restoration and transmission through new pipelines. Work changes will mean an increase from $11.2 million to $14.2 million.

n Cost adjustments must be made to the Perchlorate Treatment Project to reflect higher costs.


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