The Coast News Group
Cari Dale, water utilites director, left, and Jason Dafforn, water utilites division manager, address questions on plan to increase local water supply. Photo by Promise Yee
Cari Dale, water utilites director, left, and Jason Dafforn, water utilites division manager, address questions on plan to increase local water supply. Photo by Promise Yee

Workshop proposes 50% local water supply by 2030

Go ahead given except for La Salina pump station

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside has its sights set on developing a 50 percent local water supply by 2030.

To get there it will take a combination of maintaining and upgrading infrastructure, long-term projects, and water supply projects.

“Oceanside has been inconsistent,” Cari Dale, water utilities director, said. “Now we’re staying the course.”

City Council gave direction for the Water Utilities Department to go ahead with most of the recommendations, but asked for more time to consider options to replace the La Salina pump station at a workshop on March 27.

A go ahead was given on current water rehabilitation and replacement projects that will cost close to $18 million in existing projects and $25 million in new projects this year.

Big-ticket items on the current projects list include Weese Plant improvements at $4.8 million, reservoir structural analysis at $4.5 million, and major improvements to the desalter well project at $3.2 million.

New projects include downtown water pipeline replacement for phases 1 to 5 at $6 million, and Lake Blvd. waterline replacement at $1 million.

The reservoir structural analysis, and downtown water pipeline replacement are long-range projects that will have ongoing costs for the next four to 10 years.

To get to a 50 percent local water supply existing water supply projects will be funded $7.3 million.

Current projects include the Oceans Hills area recycled water project at $3 million, and San Luis Rey wastewater treatment plant water reclamation at $1.5 million.

Currently 55 percent of city water is imported and treated by the city, 25 percent is imported and treated by the MWD (Metropolitan Water District), and 20 percent is IPR treated ocean water.

In fifteen years the city plans for 45 percent of its water to be imported and treated by the city, and a low 7 percent imported and treated by the MWD.

The rest of city water will come from local sources. Twenty percent will be supplied by the MBDF (Mission Basin Desalting Facility), 8 percent recycled, and 20 percent IPR treated.

The best news is the city will reduce its dependence on water from the MWD.

“Nothing is more valuable than water down here,” Mayor Jim Wood said. “Water is a necessity and a priority.”

Water that is imported and treated by the MWD costs $1,435 an acre-foot and that cost is expected to continue to rise.

The least expensive water supply is local Mission Basin desalt water that costs $884 an acre-foot.

Desal IPR water currently costs $1,717 an acre-foot, and recycled water $1,730 an acre-foot.

The benefit is these water supplies are local, reliable, and the city regulates the cost, which is anticipated to decrease over time.

For the most part sewer projects also got the green light.

Existing rehabilitation and refurbishment projects will cost $47.8 million this year.

New projects will cost $6.1 million.

Long range sewer projects include downtown sewer pipeline replacement phases 1 to 5, starting at $3.6 million annually and increasing to $4.1 million over 10 years.

Replacement of La Salina pump station is another big-ticket long-range project. It was singled out for further consideration.

The two most viable options are for the city are to one; replace the treatment plant with a new pump station and send the flow to the San Luis Rey wastewater treatment plant, or two; hire a private company to construct a MBR (membrane bioreactor) plant and install transmission pipes to San Luis Rey and El Corazon.

Both options would have a significantly smaller footprint than the current station, and create over 7 acres of land that would be available for development, at the site that is a block from the ocean.

Staff analysis found it would be more cost efficient to have a private company build the MBR plant and install transmission pipes, if that option is selected.

Cost wise the pump station would have a lower capital cost of $74.4 million, compared to the MBR plant at $92.3 million.

Ongoing operation and maintenance costs would also be lower for the pump station at $1.9 million, compared to the MBR plant at $2.9 million.

Annualized costs favor the pump station too at $7.3 million, compared to the MBR plant at $9.9 million.

Speakers opposed the higher cost MBR plant that would be built by a private company and leave the city liable for possible sewage spills.

“You’re asking the public to write a blank check,” Joan Brubaker, Oceanside resident said. “We need to keep it under control of the city and its employees.”

Others were uncomfortable with the higher long-term costs to operate and maintain the already more expensive MBR plant.

“The MBR costs $1 million more a year in operative costs,” Diane Nygaard, Oceanside resident said. “Its a pain that keeps on hurting for the life of the project.”

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez was supportive of the lower cost pump station option.

She said she was surprised the council was not ready to go forward with it.

Councilmen Jerry Kern, Gary Felien, and Jack Feller said they needed more time to consider the two options.

Kern held up a spreadsheet of data and said he could not make a decision that afternoon.

“I’m not going to make a decision because of a PowerPoint we got two days ago. I need to get started on this,” he said.

“It’s very, very important for us to make the right decision.”

The question of which option will replace La Salina pump station will come back to council within the next few months.



1 comment

JustSayin' March 27, 2014 at 9:55 am

Despite Kern’s claims that he only received the data “2 days ago,” Councilmember Sanchez repeatedly confirmed that Kern proposed this project over a year ago and the developer has continuously called Councilmembers, staff and Utilities Commissioners in an effort to push the MBR project through. Our agricultural and public lands aren’t getting the recycled water they need. This could cost ratepayers/taxpayers for generations to come. The public demands transparency and public input. Water affects us all.

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