Update of Water System
Water System Manager David Schickling introduced himself and Larry Sears who has been serving in the interim between Water System Managers, to the committee. Mr. Schickling noted the reliability and quality of the Fullerton water system utilizing both ground water and Metropolitan Water District resources and believes this combination provides Fullerton with a unique asset. Several current projects include (1) the replacement of the 5 million gallon Hillcrest reservoir, originally constructed in 1913, (2) the annual replacement of water mains throughout the City, and (3) EPA mandated upgrades based upon the recently completed water vulnerability study.
The Urban Water Management Plan:
The Urban Water Management Plan, a road map to the entire water system, is updated every 5 years, and is due for revision in December 2005.
The Water Emergency Plan:
With the help of sub-committees, including that of the ERMC, Larry Sears and John Carlson, former Water Systems Manager, put together a new water conservation plan. The previous plan, the one currently in effect, penalizes those who were conserving before the plan was enacted. The revised plan changes the methodology for calculating permitted water usage to remove these penalties. It also changes the requirements for appeals to ensure staffing is adequate to process the requests in the event of required conservation efforts. Implementation of the revised plan is slated for the next several years.
The Citys water rates were studied by an independent organization to determine if adequate fees are being charged. Several major expenditures are being considered. The City Water Fund is recovering from a $702,000 settlement due to a fire hydrant failure, from which will take 3 years to recover. There are also capital projects to address security measures highlighted by the vulnerability assessment. The City has not received any concrete results from the study; a draft is expected in the next few months.
Initial results of the study indicate that the Citys water usage is above the industry standard meaning that the current rates do little to promote conservation. The standard breakdown is 40% of water in tier 1, 40% of water in tier 2, and 20% of water in tier 3. The City of Fullerton uses 73% of its water in the first tier. It is expected that the study will recommend a reduction in allowable tier quantities over several years to bring the City in line with the industry standard and increase conservation.
The committee expressed concern that additional fire hydrant failure is avoided in the future. Mr. Sears, unaware of the specifics of the current failure, informed the committee that advances in hydrant design as well as other protections should prevent future occurrences. Mr. Schickling informed the committee that in the new water main replacement project, the City would be testing several hydrants installed at the same time of the failed hydrant.
Committee member Hardwick questioned the scope and timing of the Hillcrest reservoir replacement. Mr. Schickling stated that there will be no increase in capacity. Mr. Sears stated that while a larger capacity was preferred, constraints of the site, including existing trees, limited expansion. The new design will be less susceptible to tree root intrusion. Mr. Schickling stated that construction is currently scheduled to begin in September 2004 and is estimated to take 14 months to complete due to coordination efforts and financing. No replacement of the existing booster pumping facility is planned. Committee member Devlin asked if reservoir standards aid in identifying on going maintenance issues. Mr. Sears responded that while general maintenance issues are identified, certain issues are specific to the construction type.
Chairman McNelly asked about the maintenance of the water system and the procedures for identifying pipes for replacement. Mr. Sears spoke of the water main replacement procedures. The first step would be to check the leak records and identify any mains with leaks above a certain frequency. The age and size of the main is also taken into consideration to identify unlined mains installed prior to 1946 and 4inch mains sized below current industry standards. Lastly when Public Works replaces a street, they also replace the main at the same time to prevent damage to the street in the future.
Committee member OConnor questioned the requirements for regulation of water pressure. Mr. Sears stated that Plumbing Code requires the regulation to 80psi of higher water pressures. Additional regulation would be at the discretion of individual property owners or home owners associations. Rattling pipes can be secured or cushioned. Additional system-wide reduction of water pressures, as discussed to reduce the flow of water in drought conditions, is difficult due to the elevation of the reservoirs and the resultant flows. Additionally, fire suppression systems are designed on a specific water pressure; reduction of flow would potentially compromise the systems.
Committee member Devlin asked if testing access vaults exist in the City for the ease of periodic microbiologic or metallurgical testing. Mr. Sears responded that testing is conducted when existing mains are taped.
Committee member Hardwick questioned the use of inline turbines off of several reservoirs. Mr. Sears responded that a turbine was installed on the line from the MWD connection, located in La Habra, following Euclid. The turbine was operated through private funds before sitting dormant for four to five years. According to Mr. Sears, it has subsequently been sold and is running again. Out of the eight MWD connections the City has, Mr. Sears stated that predominantly we only use two. The turbine is located on the connection with the most use.
Assistant Planner Sowers was excused due to a scheduling conflict.