Greetings to all:
We have great news! Our long-awaited Arsenic Treatment Facility has finally been constructed and will be in operation shortly. This water filtration plant has been tested and has been proven to reduce arsenic levels in our drinking water below the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Below is a summary as to how we got to this point.
On November 6, 2006, the Keyes Community Services District was issued a Notice of Non-Compliance from the California Department of Public Health which specified that the District must provide ongoing public notification of the violation of the Federal Arsenic Rule for exceeding the Federal Maximum Contaminant Level of arsenic in our potable water system. The violation did not occur because the quality of our drinking water was deteriorating but rather since the Environmental Protection Agency had decided to lower the Maximum Contaminant Level for arsenic from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. Three of our four wells that provide us with our drinking water were testing at 12 to 14 parts per billion. The lowering of the contaminant levels by the EPA resulted in the District receiving the Notice of Violation and a mandate to reduce the arsenic levels below 10 parts per billion.
The District hired the firm of Tuckfield & Associates to complete a comprehensive water rate study in May of 2012 to ensure that the District had enough money to qualify for a loan to construct an arsenic treatment facility. The study revealed that the water rates had to be increased by 26.8 percent for the District to qualify for an $8 million loan from the State Revolving Fund. The cost of this Project was estimated to total $8.1 million with planning, design and construction to occur over several years. An engineering firm was hired to design and produce construction plans for an Arsenic Treatment Facility to comply with the new drinking water standard. The District secured a $3 million grant and a 30-year interest-free $5.1 million loan from the State for the Project. By the time the facility design and construction plans were submitted to and given approval by the State, a few years had passed and the construction costs had risen from $8.1 million to $14.9 million.
The Project cost increase was cause of great concern for the Board of Directors. The District simply did not have the money to pay for the increased construction costs. The resolution to this problem came from four private mobile home parks and a teen ranch located outside of the District boundaries. They were also in violation of the Federal Arsenic Rule by exceeding arsenic contamination levels. The mobile home parks petitioned the District for permission to partake in the Arsenic Mitigation Project. The Board of Directors acquiesced and the District entered into Master-meter Agreements with the mobile home parks and teen ranch to provide treated water to them after the completed construction of the District’s Arsenic Treatment Plant. The consolidation of their private water systems with the District’s water system made them eligible for grants under Proposition 1 due to their severely financial-disadvantaged status. Proposition 1 is a general obligation bond that was passed by voters in 2018 to provide monies for loans, grants and projects such as ours. Because of this consolidation of water systems, the State Water Resources Control Board recognizes our Project as a Regional Benefit Arsenic Mitigation Project. The consolidation of the water systems increased the Project costs to $23.4 million which includes the costs for engineering, design and construction of water transmission lines to the mobile home parks, upgrades of wells and the construction of our Arsenic Treatment Facility. The consolidation of the water systems resulted in the District receiving a $20 million grant and a $3.4 million 30-year interest free loan from the State Revolving Fund. The wise decision by our Board of Directors to consolidate the water systems reduced the District’s loan pay-back obligation to the State Revolving Fund from the original $5.1 million 30-year interest-free loan to slightly less than $3.4 million. This resulted in a win-win situation for the District as well as for the mobile home parks and teen ranch.
The construction of the water transmission lines, upgrades of the wells and the Arsenic Treatment Facility are now complete. A 7-day Performance Test that was completed at the ATF last week indicated that the treated effluent arsenic numbers were well below 8 parts per billion. The District has been given approval to start a required 30-day commissioning test for the ATF while providing treated water to our residents.
The Keyes Community Services District Board of Directors would like to invite everyone to come and celebrate the completion of our Arsenic Treatment Facility located at 4290 Jessup Rd, Keyes, CA 95328 on Saturday, August 31, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Plant tours will be conducted by KCSD employees after the ceremony.
KCSD General Manager