Water questions abound at Cambria public workshop

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJuly 17, 2014 

Consultant Mari Garza-Bird, vice president of CDM Smith, at left at the lectern, updates about 125 Cambrians on Monday, July 14, about an emergency water supply project being constructed for the Cambria Community Services District.

KATHE TANNER — ktanner@thetribunenews.com

A special public workshop Monday appeared to resolve some questions about an emergency water-supply project that’s under construction in Cambria.

Some of those answers included how brackish water will be treated; how much of that treated water is to actually wind up in local taps and how it’s to get there; how leftover brine will be evaporated and the residue handled; and details about a “tracer test” that tracks bromide-laced water to make sure it will take at least two months to get from an injection well to the district’s source wells.

But it might take a Ouija board to get definitive answers to some other queries.

For instance, exactly how much will the Cambria Community Services District project cost, and will the district get state grants or federal funding to help pay for it? The current estimate is “not to exceed $8.8 million.”

And grants? They don’t know yet.

When will the project start providing water to a community that could go dry before the next rains? Maybe in November.

Does the district really expect the wells to run dry, and if so, when?

What differences could there be between conditions of the drought-triggered emergency permits under which the water treatment plant is being constructed (such as restricting its use to declared emergency water shortages, and only for existing customers) and the permanent documents required to use the plant in future emergencies?

How much water will the parched district “lose” during that 67-day “tracer test” required by state water regulators?

Also unknown until a July 24 district Board of Directors hearing: Will a majority of Cambria ratepayers object officially to a proposed rate increase to pay for the plant or will most Cambrians opt to support the district’s plan?

The workshop

At the July 14 meeting, a CDM Smith consulting team made a presentation to the district board and about 125 people in the audience. The presentation answered questions about the processes that would produce drinking water from a brackish blend of salt water, fresh water and treated wastewater drawn from beneath district property on San Simeon Creek Road.

The water would undergo three separate treatments in the plant and Mother Nature’s own process when the treated water is injected back into the ground, because soil acts as a filtering system, too.

The PowerPoint, to be available for viewing at www.cambriacsd.org, also included maps, details and diagrams of the plant, water flows and the tracer test, estimated to begin next week.

Some officials attended the meeting to hear the latest details.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service