YUCCA VALLEY — The Hi-Desert Water District reported on more updates to the wastewater system during a board meeting Wednesday night.

Since the first flush on Nov. 4, almost 40 homes have now hooked up to the sewer lines and chief plant operator Doug Culbert said 20 more are expected to connect by the end of next week.

“The gravity flow area is what’s hooked up at this moment,” Culbert said. “We’re really excited to finally see some wet stuff come in.”

Culbert and his team have drained all of the clean water in the sewer line to prepare for the flow into the collection system. The wastewater treatment plant is running, Culbert said, but more wastewater needs to be collected before they can run the waste through the plant.

“We have 6,000 gallons of high-concentration seed that were getting from Hemet,” he said. “We’ll circulate it through the plant before we begin to discharge into the ponds.”

Along with receiving an update on the hook-ups the board also discussed eight change orders to the wastewater reclamation facility. The change orders totaled $299,443, for items that had been left out of the original plans and design.

While several members of the board said they were unhappy with the high cost of the added work, General Manager Ed Muzik said many of the items should have been included in the original design for the facility.

Muzik, who had been on administrative leave for about three months, was back in the general managers’ seat at the meeting. He will stay at Hi-Desert Water District for 14 months.

“It’s great to be back,” he said.

The directors also discussed a letter they received from customers who racked up an $8,000 water bill due to a leak in the service line. The home with the leak is in a remote area, said Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Abadesco.

“The home is unoccupied,” he said. “The owner is deceased with two daughters who are not living locally.”

Both daughters live on limited incomes and cannot pay the bill, he said.

The directors agreed, as they have in the past, to reduce the bill to the cost of the water on a tier one rate, about $3,000.

District goes after Edison for charge

Abadesco went on to discuss another change order. Sukut Construction encountered a Southern California Edison duct bank while laying down the sewer lines; the bank was not shown in Suket’s plans. 

They contacted Southern California Edison, which gave approval for the bank’s demolition, but they later charged Sukut for the reconstruction.

The change order is for $201,631. The board approved the order but director of water operations Tony Culver said they should not have to pay it, as it was not their mistake.

“We’re going to send this all back to SCE and charge them for this change order because it’s their fault,” Culver said. “It’s going to be a fight but we’re going to go after it.”

(11) comments


ahhhh , 200,000 thousand kick back....err ,,,umm ...mistake...I mean change order? Administration leave ?

Nothing to see here folks .. just move along.


Lol there going pass it along too us as a debt fee it a weeks salery for a hdwd board member


Yep, once again, HDWD manages to sweep serious charges under the rug, and keep them out of the public eye.


No big deal. The Socialist Republic of California will give YV another grant. Either that or greedy YV will just soak the tourists and boarder town residents with additional sales tax.


S/b...border town residents (auto corrupt engaged)


Wait, so the family's bill was reduced by $3000 or to $3000? Either way, if they're on a fixed income, how can they pay for the damage? Was it their fault? Or the fault of the sewage workers?


Seems like more poor planning that's going to cost a fortune. If you're reading this and at least a little bit competent, maybe consider running for the local water board, you can apparently do better than these folks that forgot an entire building exists.


JT used to recall the water board every time the wind blew. Might be time to do the same in Yucca. It's been a complete boondoggle for the last year at least.


Not quite CheRojo, I was there and helped stabilize the JBWD in early 1993. The recall efforts started when there was a semi-secret attempt by Hi Desert Water Board and Joshua Basin Water District to merge. The half-assed attempt was to have three HDWD members and two JBWD members on the merged water board. For those who can count to three - yup, that's a majority. There were no planned districts so the Yucca Valley population would pack the board with five Yucca Valleyites after the next two election cycles. Yucca Valley would take Joshua Trees water and give the Sunfair area a regional water treatment plant. Nope, nuttin doin with that so there was a recall of that JT Waterboard VERY QUICKLY. By the way - current MWA Div. 2 board member Jim Ventura was on that recalled board (I'm not attacking him, he's learned a lot since then). Then the new JT Water board found out that the previous water boards (for decades?) had been using the Stand-by-fees (meant for Capital Improvements) for water district maintenance which is a no-no. So then they had to raise the water rates to properly cover expenses for running the JBWD. That board was recalled (yes, we're on a roll here) because the raised the fees and the recall group was FULL of themselves. Now the spendthrift board led by Vic Chalut (Marine base water treatment Supervisor and good friend of Jimmy Hoffa - I'm not kidding) was looking to run the district with volunteers (not paid) and not in uniform (those cost money you know). The JBWD election cycle came early enough for an actual election to change the board. We only had to get two new SANE board members elected to stabilize the board with a three member majority. I screen printed for free the "slate election" political signs for members Jane Lyons/Boorsma and Mike Luhrs (back then he was sane). They got in and the JBWD has been quite stable since then.


Several new very ugly Guantanamo style, replete with razor wire, enclosures are currently under construction around town. Does anyone know if they will also have armed guards and searchlight towers to further destroy the night skies?


Muzik, who had been on administrative leave for about three months, was back in the general managers’ seat at the meeting. He will stay at Hi-Desert Water District for 14 months.......

Hasn't anyone read the Board minutes ? There was a harassment complaint by several employees against the District, similar to the one filed a few years back.

And once again, the Board has swept this under the rug, and Muzik continues to collect a salary and build on his pension, that will cost Yucca Valley millions in the future. How does Teflon Ed keep on deflecting these serious charges from female employees ?

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