At press deadline, Cambria’s emergency water-supply project still was not online, according to services district officials, but they estimated that the often-delayed startup might happen as soon as Friday, Jan. 9.
The Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board is requiring the Cambria Community Services District to provide $3.5 million worth of performance bonds or set-aside funds to ensure that if there are problems with the plant, there’ll be sufficient money to fix what’s wrong or decommission the plant.
According to the water board Control Engineer John Rokke, the state agency is requiring $882,000 in a “closure fund, in case the district has to close the plant” and $2.679 million for a “reasonable, foreseeable, corrective-action fund” in case there are problems with the project’s brine pond.
Jerry Gruber, general manager of the Cambria Community Services District, said via email Jan. 6 that “we are extremely close to official startup … we are waiting for the performance bond for the brine pond. We are seeking several quotes and anticipate having that issue resolved within the next few days.”
Businessdictionary.com defines a performance bond as a written guarantee from a third party, usually a bank or insurance company, that payment will be made.
Those “performance bonds” must be in place before the water board will issue final approval to operate the water-reclamation project under the drought-related emergency permit from the county. The emergency permit requires the district to also obtain additional permits to operate the plant on a more permanent basis, a process that’s underway.
The plant will use filtration and purification processes to treat brackish water (fresh, salt and treated waste water) drawn from under district property on San Simeon Creek Road.
In the meantime, work continues on the project and at the district. Water currently in the pond is from recent rains, Gruber said, and mist in that area Tuesday was likely from a brief running of the pumps and blowers. “However, we will be unable to truly test them until brine is disposed of in the pond, and the water level rises.”
And some Pine Knolls residents watching a flow of water down a Pine Knolls area street Tuesday were told that an overflow tank’s pump had malfunctioned and crews had to drain the water out of the catchment basin in order to fix it.