Cambria district wraps up water-delivery fix. Here’s what comes next and how to weigh in

·3 min read
The Cambrian

Temporary repairs have been completed and water is flowing through the Cambria Community Services District’s replacement pipe that delivers water from the town’s primary source near San Simeon Creek.

Customers had been asked to continue aggressive conservation since the water-main break on Dec. 23. The district’s only supply since then has been wells that draw water from underground near Santa Rosa Creek.

According to CSD general manager John Weigold’s email, the temporary, new, mostly above-ground pipeline “has been installed, tested, and put into service. Production from the CCSD’s San Simeon Well Field has resumed. All service has been restored to customers affected by the temporary closure of the San Simeon Well Field during project activities. Staff has performed a final walk-through with State Parks to confirm the project site has been restored to their specifications.”

Weigold said that “customers may experience increased disinfection residual in their drinking water during the days immediately following recommissioning of the San Simeon Well Field. This is done as a precautionary health and safety measure.”

The temporary fix had been estimated to cost from $300,000 to $400,000. However, the CSD now must tackle a much pricier, permanent solution.

He assured ratepayers that the district informed regulators that the temporary project is complete.

At the CSD board meeting Thursday, President Donn Howell lauded staff for working “well beyond normal work days and work hours to get our San Simeon Well Field providing water to the community again.”

He and Weigold singled out for special praise Ray Dienzo, the district’s engineer and utilities manager, and staffer Jim Green, who Weigold said had been onsite “every single day since the line break.”

Howell described “how close we were to having a real disaster … with a single supply from a single well, and aging infrastructure. It was a tricky business. If it had failed, we’d have all been drinking bottled water.”

Strategic Plan meetings

Howell said that, at a special town hall Zoom meeting planned to start at 9 a.m. Monday, Cambria ratepayers will be given as much time as they need to tell the district what the board’s priorities should be in 2022.

He said the board and staff want to hear their customers’ “opinions, thoughts, concerns, hopes and fears about whatever’s coming down the pike” with the board’s Strategic Plan.

Weigold said they’ll also take comments on the district’s “strengths, weaknesses and three-year goals.”

The board was scheduled to meet again starting about 8:30 Tuesday for a full-day workshop to decide what will be included the plan.

Pandemic impact on staff

Weigold asked for patience from the public if takes longer for them to get responses from the district. He told the board that the pandemic “has been a big issue, and we continue to be impacted greatly by it.”

He said the omicron variant was exacerbating the problem, causing more people to be out of the office and isolated. Weigold explained that “some staffers are able to work from home, and are in a condition to do that,” but others are not.

The district’s vendors and contractors are also being hit by the virus, he said. “So, if it seems like things are taking longer than expected, that’s probably the first reason why.”

After the meeting, the general manager estimated that between 10% and 15% of staff is affected.

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