Saturday, 18 May 2024

Cal Water scales back building plan

LUCERNE – California Water Service Co. is changing its plans for a new building and water plant.

In February, the company applied for a user permit to build a new, two-story office building and a single-story plant along the lakeshore in Lucerne.

But the company has withdrawn the request for that permit. Gay Guidotti, interim customer service representative for Lucerne, said California Water Service has trimmed its budget for plant construction, which was confirmed by county Assistant Planner Terri Persons.

“They're not going to make any changes at all to the building,” said Persons. “It's mainly a cost issue.”

A scheduled April 26 Lake County Planning Commission hearing on a use permit for a two-story office addition at the plant was canceled, Guidotti said.

She added that the company has decided to retrofit its existing one-story office structure. County sources said the decision will save about $1 million of estimated $4 million plant costs, which will be paid for by a loan from California's State Revolving Fund, and repaid by Lucerne's ratepayers.

Persons said the company is planning at this point to focus on improvement its water treatment facility, which shares the same building. That will include work on a pipe pier into the lake, which does require a lakebed encroachment permit, she added.

Cal Water is seeking funding through the state Department of Health Services, said Persons, so an environmental review must be conducted.

The work going on at the plant site is just maintenance right now, said Persons.

If the company did actually remodel the building, Persons confirmed that they would need permits.

Tony Carrasco, Calwater's Oroville district manager, has been helping run the local office during the last few months in the wake of district manager Bill Koehler's leaving.

Carrasco said the company is right now finishing up its permit applications for the pier work.

Cal Water came up against some design issues with the treatment plant, Carrasco said, with some of the problems including the amount of available parking.

He said Cal Water is trying to “diligently keep costs down” while meeting water quality standards, which led to the decision to scale back the plans.

“We felt that we could do the customer service center at a different time,” he said.

Carrasco added, “Water quality is our biggest concern.”

The current building includes a customer service center, with an operations center and a lab for the treatment plant.

The plant, at the back of the property, is where the company plans to do the majority of its work, said Carrasco. “That's where we're going to be upgrading all of our equipment for water treatment,” he said.

Those improvements, he said, will meet or exceed water quality requirements expected to be raised through 2012.

Carrasco confirmed that Cal Water has applied for a low- or no-interest loan through the Department of Health Services, who the company met with on Tuesday to discuss a use permit.

He said the company is making an effort to save its customers money by changing the plans and instead focusing more on water quality.

The initial timeline set for the original project included a June 2008 completion date, he said. The new plans should come in well ahead of that schedule, he said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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