EMWD approves San Jacinto Basin groundwater monitoring equipment, Hemet Water Filtration Plant tank replacement design, Pat Road booster engines replacement

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The June 17 meeting of the Eastern Municipal Water District included approving the purchase of groundwater monitoring equipment for the West San Jacinto Basin, approving a consultant contract for the final design of the Hemet Water Filtration Plant sodium hypochlorite tank replacement and awarding Pacific Hydrotech Corporation a contract to replace the booster engines at the Pat Road facility.

The votes to purchase the groundwater monitoring equipment and to approve the consultant contract with Kleinfelder Inc. for the tank replacement design were 5-0. Due to a professional conflict of interest Stephen Corona recused himself on the vote for the Pacific Hydrotech contract, so that margin of passage was 4-0.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act into law in September 2014; the purpose of the SGMA is to promote sustainable management of the state’s groundwater basins. The state’s Department of Water Resources designated basins throughout California as high, medium, low or very low priority and the SGMA required local agencies to form a Groundwater Sustainability Agency for high-priority and medium-priority basins by June 2017 and to develop plans to achieve long-term groundwater sustainability by January 2022.

In 2017, the Eastern Municipal Water District became the GSA for the West San Jacinto Groundwater Basin. As the GSA for the West San Jacinto Groundwater Basin, EMWD is responsible for managing groundwater quality. The Perris II Reverse Osmosis Treatment Facility is being implemented to reduce concentrations of total dissolved solids, nitrate and perchlorate in portions of the Perris South and Lakeview groundwater management zones. The treatment facility will also increase groundwater production in the Perris South Zone, which will reduce dependence on imported water and provide a more drought-resistant supply.

The reverse osmosis treatment facility monitoring and reporting plan includes the use of testing devices for physical conditions along with analytical sampling for water quality profiling. The monitoring equipment will establish 2020 baseline conditions and will continue to be utilized for the 20-year expected service life of the treatment facility. The state’s Department of Water Resources provided a $1,166,500 grant which includes a water district match of $390,000, and $328,600 of that state grant was allocated solely to purchase monitoring equipment. The June 17 action covers the purchase of the sampling equipment and appropriated $153,000 of that grant funding for the purchase.

The Hemet Water Filtration Plant at Kirby Street and Commonwealth Avenue was built in 2006 and utilizes ultrafiltration to treat raw water. The plant has a capacity of 12 million gallons per day of potable water. The filtration plant includes two 7,000-gallon fiberglass reinforced plastic tanks which store sodium hypochlorite.

EMWD staff noticed a leak in one of the tanks in 2017 and the district solicited repairs, but approximately six months after that repair work leaks reappeared. The contractor repaired those leaks, but after the one-year warranty period expired the leaks reoccurred and the other tank has also begun to leak. Both tanks were taken offline and a temporary third tank was installed to store the sodium hypochlorite. In June 2019, EMWD approved an agreement with Kleinfelder to investigate options for access to replace the tanks, and after reviewing the report district staff proposed installing the new tanks without making structure modifications.

The final design contract with Kleinfelder, which will be a $76,263 expense for EMWD, will include design, installation method specifications and the removal and reinstallation of existing conduits, plumbing and ducting. The total $104,300 appropriation approved June 17 also covers in-house labor and materials for the design and the construction contract bid process.

The Pat Road booster station near the French Valley intersection of Pat Road and Leon Road conveys water north to the 1627 pressure zone. It was built in 1992 and has a capacity of 40,000 gallons per minute. The facility has four large pumps. 

Two of those pumps currently utilize gas engines while the other two have electric engines. The gas engines are now obsolete and are no longer supported by the manufacturer. In July 2017 the district approved a hydraulic study contract with West Yost Consultants to address operating scenarios, and in January 2018 a contract with Krieger and Stewart to assist with project planning and preliminary design was approved. An April 2018 agreement with Krieger and Stewart evaluated how the noise generated by the facility would impact planned residential development nearby, and a December 2018 contract amendment added a lifecycle cost analysis to evaluate whether gas or electric motors should be used. The existing 900 horsepower lean burn natural gas engines will be replaced with 814 horsepower rich burn natural gas engines. A final design agreement with Krieger and Stewart to prepare bid documents for the engine replacement, a new emergency generator and noise mitigation measures was approved in June 2019. 

Four bids were received by the June 3 deadline. Pacific Hydrotech, which is headquartered in Perris, had the low bid of $4,487,032.75. GSE Construction Company of Livermore had the second-lowest bid at $4,499,000.00. All four bids were below the engineer’s estimate of $5,169,000. 

The approved appropriation June 17 was $5,985,700, which covers a $627,000 engineering support contract with Krieger and Stewart, internal labor expenses, soils work, an asbestos survey and a contingency amount as well as the $4,487,032.75 construction contract.

Completion of the engine replacement is expected to begin in mid-July and be complete in October 2021.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at jnaiman@reedermedia.com.