At its April 24 meeting the East Valley Water District (EVWD) approved new master plans identifying needed improvements for and planning future development of its water and sewer systems.
The new plans replace plans created in 2014 and are designed to project the district’s needs through 2035. The plans establish system recommendations to address current system weaknesses, plans to expand the two systems for anticipated growth in demand and project possible maximum demands based on full land-use buildout, according to EVWD Director of Engineering and Operations Jeff Noelte, who outlined the two plans for the EVWD board of directors at its April 10 meeting.
The plans were created with consultant Stantec after using field and GIS data to create computer-based hydraulic model simulations of the water and sewer systems in three conditions⎯current, near-term and maximum buildout.
The simulations were used to provide data on the current systems’ capacities and make recommendations to meet deficiencies as well as recommend projects needed to meet projected future demands up to 2035.
For the near-term recommendations, the model anticipated increased demands for anticipated developments such as Greenspot Village and Marketplace, highland Hills Ranch, Sunland Communities, Mediterra, Centerstone and Harmony developments, Noelte said.
The full buildout recommendations were based on Southern California Association of Governments population projections and data from the model simulating full development of the district’s service area based on land-use zoning.
“Doing the water and sewer plans at the same time, although it has a lot of value to us, was a challenge to the team. We have some very specific issues we wanted to learn about as we have some big decisions to make,” said John Mura, EVWD CEO and general manager. “This information is critical as we start to make multi-million dollar decisions moving forward.”
According to the computer-simulated evaluation of the current water system, the plan recommends increasing water storage capacity by 5.5 million gallons (MG).
The model showed no major deficiencies in water transmission due to aging or insufficient pipes. Three areas in the district were identified as having low pressure due to ground elevation, but these could be corrected without new infrastructure, the plan states.
The plan also recommends a new 2.88 MG well to increase groundwater supply for the existing system.
For the near-term plan, an additional 9.25 MG of storage is recommended⎯assuming the 5.5 MG capacity for the existing system is implemented⎯for a total of 14.75 MG.
The near-term plan recommends the construction of two wells plus either a third well or a surface water treatment plant.
Near-term recommendations dependent on the Harmony development include the addition of 5,500 feet of 24-inch water pipe as well as a proposed 4.5 MG reservoir and surface water treatment plant to serve the 3,632-home development.
The plan outlines costs on a per project basis with new wells estimated to cost $1.5 million each. One new well is recommended for the existing system. Two or three (depending on the construction of Harmony) additional wells are recommended for the near-term plan, and a total of five new wells are recommended should the district reach full buildout.
The recommended storage improvements for the existing system total $6.875 million.
The Harmony transmission pipe is estimated to cost $3.672 million.
When running the simulation for the sewer system under maximum wet weather conditions, the East Trunk Sewer, which runs north and south along Del Rosa Avenue from Base Line to Sixth Street showed to have 19,362 feet of pipe outside the limits of the design criteria, Noelte said.
Noelte pointed out that this is pipe that belongs to and is serviced by city of San Bernardino, but will soon be acquired by EVWD as the district prepares to treat its own sewage at the Sterling Natural Resource Center (SNRC) being constructed at Sixth and Del Rosa. Construction of the Sterling plant will also involve new sewer pipe to reroute sewage in the area.
“We know Sterling involves sewer modifications to direct flow to SNRC. That entails intercepting flow in the Base Line area to the Sterling plant, essentially relieving flow from that area, making it less of a concern,” Noelte said.
The sewer plan recommends an estimated $7.971 million in improvements for the existing system. The majority of this, $7.851 million, is for upsizing 15,000 feet of 21-to-24-inch pipe to 30-inch pipe.
The near-term recommendations include upsizing 6,200 feet of pipe to 15 inches in preparation for the expansion of San Manuel Casino into a 500-room resort. This improvement is estimated to cost $2.248 million.
For the Mediterra and Harmony developments, the plan suggests replacing 20,200 feet of 12-to-18-inch pipe with 18-to-21-inch pipe for an estimated $8.75 million.
A third near-term recommendation, also based on development, is upsizing 4,500 feet of 24-inch pipe to 30-inch pipe.
The plan also includes an evaluation of pipeline condition for suggested pipeline rehabilitation. The recommendations were prioritized into four tiers with the top priority tier including 4,835 feet of pipeline to be replaced at an estimated $1.250 million. The second tier included 4,777 feet of pipe rehabilitation for a projected cost of $1.238 million.
Because these projects are expected to occur over many years they will be funded by a variety of sources including pay-as-you-go, state loan programs, general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, developer impact or connection fees, state grants and more.
Mura said that having the data in these plans helps the district ensure that developers “pay their fair share” in infrastructure improvements beneficial to or necessitated by new development.
“We take a realistic view of our development partnerships. By law we’re obligated to make sure they pay their fair share, but we’re also obligated, by professional courtesy, to be able to demonstrate the data we use to come up with the bottom line,” Mura said. “I think we do a really good job of being in a position, when we negotiate, to communicate with a developer in a rational way that we’re not pulling these fees out of the air or looking to overburden a developer.”