Jenny Lind, CA — Thanks to a big chunk of money from FEMA, the Calaveras County Water District is moving forward with a major project to help protect the water supply for the 10,000 people in the greater Valley Springs area.
The 2015 Butte Fire burned over 52,000 acres of the Calaveras River Watershed, along with 900 structures. Following the fire, ash and sediment began eroding from hillsides, and it still continues to be a major problem, two years later. The district reports that after major storms the river will look like chocolate milk (see photo) as it carries massive sediment into New Hogan Lake.
CCWD’s water treatment plant is just downstream from Hogan, and the poor water quality has created additional challenges and expenses. During big storms the plants existing filtration systems become so overwhelmed that the plant becomes inoperable.
FEMA has authorized funding for CCWD to construct pre-treatment facilities to protect the water supply as a post Butte Fire recovery project. FEMA will cover 75-percent of the costs with CCWD required to pay the remaining 25-percent.
“We are grateful to the California Office of Emergency Services and FEMA for working effectively with us to move this project forward and are now able to take the next step to start construction,” said Charles Palmer, CCWD district engineer. “Despite the extensive fire damage to the watershed and a degraded raw water supply, this critical project will construct the new facilities needed for the water treatment plant to run effectively at all times without disruption so our operators can always provide safe, reliable water service to the community.”
The $3.4-million contract for the Jenny Lind Water Treatment Plant Pre-treatment Project will go to R.E. Smith Construction of Newcastle. Construction should start on April 1st of next year with the completion in May of 2019.