View Mobile Site
 

Ask the Expert

Signal Photos

CLWA's mammoth water tank covers need replacing

Replacing covers on two 15-million gallon tanks estimated to cost $13.75 million

Posted: July 7, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 7, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Castaic Lake Water Agency Engineering and Operations Manager Brian Folsom checks a pump hose used for removing water from the top of a 20-year-old Hypalon floating cover that has leaked up through cracks on one of the 15 million-gallon clear wells at the CLWA in Saugus on Thursday. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

View More »
 

Local water officials are having a tough time finding ways to replace two 15-million-gallon water tank covers crucial to ensuring drinking water quality in the Santa Clarita Valley as the drought deepens and revenue slows.

On the one hand, Castaic Lake Water Agency board members heard during a recent meeting, time has run out for replacing the costly covers for the mammoth tanks.

On the other hand, the $13.75 million needed to replace the covers would likely have to come out of money set aside for developing more water recycling in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The dilemma was presented during a June meeting at which directors for Santa Clarita Valley’s water wholesaler mulled over priorities for capital works projects with their eye on delivering local ratepayers safe, affordable drinking water over the next decade.

The board was split, however, on whether to spend agency money replacing the covers for the two tanks that are key to ensuring water quality or spend less money repairing them and, at the same time, invest in the agency’s recycled water program.

The agency’s top engineer wants to replace the existing floating Hypalon covers on its two “clearwells” that store treated water at Rio Vista Water Treatment Plant.

The covers were built in 1993 and were expected to last 20 years, according to Brian Folsom, the agency’s engineering and operations manager. The mammoth tanks are critical because they serve as a buffer to accommodate fluctuating water demands while maintaining a relatively constant flow of water through the treatment plant.

Each of the squarish structures is about 330 feet by 330 feet, stands about 24 feet tall and is built of concrete with sloping sides and flat floors. Each clearwell holds about 15 million gallons of water.

Over the last 10 years, engineers who have noticed tears and pinholes in the covers, and have been patching and repairing them.

Folsom told board members on June 25 that the covers could no longer be repaired and have to be replaced.
“The existing covers are at the end of their useful life of 20 years,” he said. “Annual maintenance costs of the existing covers is increasing and the risk of failure is increasing. The covers are needed to protect the treated water prior to delivery to the agency’s customers.”

Agency board members discussed the pros and cons of using “re-purposed” grant money intended for developing the agency’s much-needed recycling program to pay, instead, for the replacement of the tank covers.

“I know everybody in the last couple of years has talked about the recycling program,” said board Vice President Bill Cooper. “When we did that we didn’t expect our funding to be where it is now three or four years later with the downtown in the economy.

“We had to re-purpose some of those things,” he said. “And we were re-purposing that funding because we weren’t able to build the recycling we wanted.

“It doesn’t mean we can’t apply for more grants,” he said. “Recycling needs to move forward.”

“If it comes down to either water quality or water demand, I would choose water quality,” said board member Dean Efstathiou. “Because if you don’t, they could shut you down,” he said, referring to public health inspectors monitoring the quality of drinking water.

In the end, directors agreed they need more discussion, more information and more time to debate the agency’s priorities.

“You’ve convinced me on the importance to move ahead on the clearwell covers,” said member Jerry Gladbach, adding the agency should be more aggressive in competing for federal grant money.

jholt@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
On Twitter
@jamesarthurholt

Comments

castaicjack: Posted: July 7, 2014 8:35 a.m.

The covers need replacing? It's lack of water that needs replacing. Oh I forgot, anytime a new development comes before a planning commission, the water companies show up and tell everybody there's more than enough...


bobforte: Posted: July 7, 2014 8:57 a.m.

"Castaic Lake Water Agency Engineering and Operations Manager Brian Folsom checks a pump hose used for removing water from the top of a 20-year-old Hypalon floating cover that has leaked up through cracks on one of the 15 million-gallon clear wells at the CLWA in Saugus on Thursday."

I am confused. Is it the water that is leaking UP through the cracks, or is the pump hose leaking UP through the cracks, or has the cover leaked UP through the cracks.


chefgirl358: Posted: July 7, 2014 10:15 a.m.

Does anybody still drink tap water? I haven't even used tap water for cooking in years. I don't even give my pets tap water.


CastaicClay: Posted: July 7, 2014 11:08 a.m.

First this
*The Castaic Lake Water Agency received the Operating Budget Excellence Award for its fiscal year 2013-14 budget for the seventh year in a row, agency officials announced this week.
Then this
*Local water officials are having a tough time finding ways to replace two 15-million-gallon water tank covers crucial to ensuring drinking water quality in the Santa Clarita Valley as the drought deepens and revenue slows.
Things went bad quickly.


Lotus8: Posted: July 7, 2014 11:59 a.m.

Clay raises an excellent point. The covers had a 20 year expected life. That would put replacement at 2013. Why isn't there a chunk of money that has been raised over those 20 years meant to replace these covers sitting there to replace them?

The article gives us the answer in an off-angle way, but the truth is there to see. The budget assumed large increases in population, occupancy, rates and utilization that never materialized when the real estate market cooled off. Well, that happened in 2007 gents. What is our excuse for the last 7 years of having our heads in the sand on this? You can't keep using that as an excuse here. That train left and it ain't coming back.

I vote for water quality. Make sure our water is safe and clean before you go shirking that core responsibility in hopes of implementing recycling. On a practical note, there has got to be some grant out there to promote "recycling" as it is a great buzzword. Keep the water clean and see if you can't come up with some funding for the recycling over the next few years.


garyr: Posted: July 7, 2014 12:18 p.m.

$13,700,000 for 110,000 square feet of chlorosulfonated polyethylene film seems mad. $125 per square foot? Really? Really? Please fire whoever is giving you this bid. Don't ask them for a lower bid. Just fire them and ban them from future bidding - they are mad as hatters. There are so many food safe ways of covering that amount of space that would cost dramatically less and last longer. Please tell me there's at least one person at CLWA that can come up with abetter solution.


rovingwriter: Posted: July 7, 2014 5:33 p.m.

"The covers were built in 1993 and were expected to last 20 years, according to Brian Folsom, the agency’s engineering and operations manager."

My first reaction was the same as clay and lotus8. They were EXPECTED to last 20 years, which was 2013. Where's the money that should have been set aside?

It. Is. Called. Planning.


chefgirl358: Posted: July 7, 2014 8:55 p.m.

Yep, agree with all of you. I had the same thought, did the math with the 20 years and wondered why nobody planned for the eventual purchase and replacement of said covers, ESPECIALLY when they've been making repairs to the covers for years now.


ricketzz: Posted: July 8, 2014 7:46 a.m.

The plastic keeps air off the stored water? Can't you find an inert liquid that would do the same thing? Glycerine or something?

I make coffee with tap water. We still don't have blended water in Pinetree (as far as I know). It is ridiculously high in calcium (we're talking stalagtites), balances acidic coffee nicely.


Rocketeer: Posted: July 8, 2014 2:31 p.m.

Gary, while I agree with you, it's actually $62.90/sqft that they claim as the price tag ((330 x 330 x 2)/1370000).

That's over double the street price for even the most expensive Hypalon. This reeks of corruption.


bobforte: Posted: July 8, 2014 4:25 p.m.

You are correct Rocketeer. Either way, quite expensive.


Unreal: Posted: July 9, 2014 9:14 a.m.

Anyone want to advertise on the outside of the tanks?
I think some of them may be in areas where they can be seen. --edited.


ricketzz: Posted: July 10, 2014 6:22 a.m.

They are holding tanks at the water works, not hilltop reservoirs.


Unreal: Posted: July 10, 2014 9:47 a.m.

ricketzz: Ok. I just wish they would be a little more creative instead of running around overspending on items. Treat the money like their own.



You need to be a registered user to post a comment. Please click here to register.

The Signal encourages readers to interact with one another, following the guidelines outlined in our Comment/Moderation Policy. Click here to read it.

To report offensive or inappropriate comments, e-mail abuse@signalscv.com. The content posted from readers of signalscv.com does not necessarily represent the views of The Signal or Morris Multimedia. By submitting this form you agree to the terms and conditions listed above. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

 
 

Powered By
Morris Technology
Please wait ...