Colusa water survey may dry up
It seems Colusa’s stated intention to fix its water quality is probably enough after all.
Public Works Director Dale Kleever said he is waiting to hear from the state about whether a letter of intent to eventually treat the iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide levels in the water will satisfy the Department of Public Health.
“They are favorable, but we cannot count on that,” Kleever said Monday.
If the state signs off on the letter, the survey the city sent out asking the residents whether they are willing to pay between $3.07 and $29.16 more each month to treat the water will no longer be necessary.
In the meantime, the city will continue to collect the surveys that come into City Hall, but has delayed hiring people to go door-to-door to contact residents directly about their wishes.
The state told the city the survey was necessary to show whether the residents are willing to pay for the treatment, or accept the water quality as it stands.
While the water does not meet the Secondary Maximum Containment standards, Kleever said, it is purely an issue of how the water looks, smells and tastes, and is not a health risk.
Kleever said the city has received several hundred surveys, but is still far way from the 1,100-plus responses needed.
When the survey first went out, it created a bit of a stir – in part because the bureaucratic language of the letter was troubling for residents, but even more so because many residents had thought they had taken care of the issue through the city’s Master Water Plan.
Kleever thought so, too, since the projects that are part of the plan, including the development of at least one new well and possibly two, would have resolved the issue.
The city plans to seek a combination of a USDA grant and low-interest loan in excess of $5 million to fund the project.
Each well would have new treatment and filtration systems, and according to Kleever, would produce enough water for the entire city.
The master plan also addressed the treatment of the other wells at the same time as necessary.
The real problem, Kleever said, would come if the city does not qualify for the grant and low-interest loan.
That would require the city to push back the development of the new well in favor of taking care of water mains and other critical infrastructure.
Eventually a new well will be needed, and that could mean some kind of water rate increase to pay for that work.