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.”