MENIFEE – After more than a decade of working with state funding agencies on behalf of local residents, Eastern Municipal Water District announced it has received funding and will soon begin construction on the first phase of a sewer system in the Quail Valley area of Menifee.
Earlier this year EMWD finalized an agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board, which is providing $8 million toward the cost of the project that will bring a safe and reliable sewer system to 215 properties in the southernmost area of Quail Valley.
The Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority previously provided $1.93 in grant funding and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board has provided $455,814 in Supplemental Environmental Protection funds.
EMWD’s board of directors approved a contract with Downing Construction Wednesday, May 3, to install the first phase of sewer in the area. The construction is anticipated to be substantially completed in the winter of 2018-2019.
The region is currently served by septic systems – many of which are failing and resulting in raw sewage being discharged into local ground and surface waters. The Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2006 imposed a septic systems moratorium in the area, and the county of Riverside also imposed a prohibition on new septic tanks.
“EMWD’s board and staff have worked tirelessly for many years to secure the funding necessary to advance this critical project,” EMWD Vice President Ron Sullivan, who represents the Menifee and Perris areas, said. “We are incredibly pleased that the state board has allocated the necessary funding and that we are beginning the process of providing the first phase of sewer service to a community that has been waiting for so long.”
EMWD is relying on grant funding to fund the sewer system costs. This funding was necessary to ensure that the project costs were not borne by other ratepayers.
Once a rural enclave with properties that often served as vacation homes, the septic systems in Quail Valley were not constructed with everyday use in mind. As the area grew and homes became occupied year-round, the septic systems were unable to keep up with increased demands placed on them and began to fail.
Now considered an economically disadvantaged area, EMWD has for many years coordinated with several community groups – including the Quail Valley Environmental Coalition – to work on behalf of residents to secure grant funding from the state. The median household income in Quail Valley was a primary factor in EMWD being able to obtain grant funding.
Over the next few months, EMWD will be conducting significant outreach to the Quail Valley community, including the property owners who will be receiving sewer service. Construction is anticipated to begin later this year and last for approximately 20 months.
“The city of Menifee appreciates the work that EMWD has put forth to bring a safe and reliable sewer system to the residents of Quail Valley,” Menifee Mayor Pro-Tem Matt Liesemeyer, whose District 2 includes the Quail Valley area, said. “This system will help protect the quality of life and provide substantial and long-lasting environmental benefits to this community, as well as create new opportunities where none existed before.”
The construction of the sewer system will include a mainline system in the public right of way and lateral connections to 149 existing homes and 66 undeveloped parcels. Contractors will abandon the existing septic systems and connect the laterals to the properties on the developed parcels.
The new sewer system will connect via gravity flow to a regional lift station that is being constructed by EMWD and funded in part by the developers of Audie Murphy Ranch.
“The county of Riverside appreciates the efforts of EMWD to bring a modern sewer system to the Quail Valley community,” Riverside County 5th District Supervisor Marion Ashley said. “This has been an issue that all our agencies have worked on together for many years. This sewer system will have significant beneficial impacts for water quality within the region and is the first step toward resolving a longstanding public health issue.”
EMWD is the water, wastewater service and recycled water provider to approximately 804,000 people living and working within a 555-square mile service area in western Riverside County. It is California’s sixth-largest retail water agency, and its mission is “to deliver value to our customers and the communities we serve by providing safe, reliable, economical and environmentally sustainable water, wastewater and recycled water services.” More information can be found at www.emwd.org.