City takes on city water system repairs, inspections and state-mandated conservation ordinance

Correction: This Susanville City Council meeting will be held on Monday, July 18, not Wednesday, July 18 as originally reported. Lassen News regrets the error.

Susanville’s water system has served city residents extremely well for decades — but, according to information on the city council’s agenda for the Monday, July 18 meeting, city residents need to conserve water — and the city’s water system urgently needs repair and attention.

Water usage ordinance
Item 9B on the agenda asks the council to approve Ordinance No. 22-1036 — an Interim Urgency Ordinance “adopting water conservation measures to comply with stated-mandated water curtailment.”

According to the staff report, “Urban water suppliers must implement and enforce an ordinance banning at minimum the water uses” to comply with regulatory actions from the California Water Resources Board. These requirements include:

  • Outdoor watering shall be allowed only three days per week. Three days per week shall mean Monday, Thursday, and Saturday for properties with even numbered addresses and Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday for properties with odd numbered addresses.
  • The application of potable water to outdoor landscapes in a manner that causes more than incidental runoff such that water flows onto adjacent property, non-irrigated areas, private and public walkways, roadways, parking lots, or structures;
  • The use of a hose that dispenses water to wash a motor vehicle, except where the hose is fitted with a shut-off nozzle or device attached to it that causes it to cease dispensing water immediately when not in use;
  • The use of potable water for washing sidewalks, driveways, buildings, structures, patios, parking lots, or other hard surfaced areas, except in cases where health and safety are at risk;
  • The use of potable water for street cleaning or construction site preparation purposes, unless no other method can be used or as needed to protect the health and safety of the public;
  • The use of potable water for decorative fountains or the filling or topping-off of decorative lakes or ponds, with exceptions for those decorative fountains, lakes, or ponds that use pumps to recirculate water and only require refilling to replace evaporative losses;
  • The application of water to irrigate turf and ornamental landscapes during and within 48 hours after measurable rainfall of at least one fourth of one inch of rain. In determining whether measurable rainfall of at least fourth of one inch of rain occurred in a given area, enforcement may be based on records of the National Weather Service, the closest CIMIS station to the parcel, or any other reliable source of rainfall data available to the entity undertaking enforcement of this subdivision; and
  • The use of potable water for irrigation of ornamental turf on public street medians.

This ordinance will take effect upon passage by the council and be in force for one year or until drought restrictions are lifted.

Emergency well repairs
The Susanville City Council will consider Resolution No. 22-6023, authorizing emergency repairs to the city Well No. 3.

According to the staff report, “Well No. 3 is a very important water source for the city of Susanville as it is capable of providing almost half of the City’s summer water consumption. Well No. 3 is an important part of Susanville’s fire safety and the Water Division relies heavily on Well No. 3’s pumping capacity to keep its storage tanks full during high water usages.

“On July 13, 2022, the City Water Division’s Well No. 3 experienced a mechanical/electrical failure. There are three major systems at Well No. 3; 1. the physical pump and motor; 2. electrical connections capable of running a 200-horsepower pump; and 3. a separate control system. Repairs may need to involve multiple contractors to diagnose and repair Well No. 3. Based on these factors, staff feels the situation with Well No. 3 constitutes an emergency. Due to the current status of Well No. 3 and pursuant to Public Contract Code section 20168, in cases of emergency, public bidding may be dispensed with if approved by four-fifths vote of council.”

Inspection of city’s five water tanks
The council also will consider Resolution No. 22-6019, authorizing the mayor to sign a $8,700 contract with Aqua-Tech to inspect the city’s five water tanks.

According to the staff report, “To maintain the integrity of the City’s water the American Water Works Association and the EPA recommends inspection of our water tanks every 3-5 years. This work is considered a maintenance project and not subject to public bidding pursuant to the public contract code. However, Public Works did obtain quotes from Blue Locker and Aqua- Tech. Aqua-Tech was provided the lower quote.

Other items
Other items on the council’s agenda include public comment; an closed session evaluation of the city administrator; a closed session conference with legal counsel regarding the lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation over the proposed closure of the California Correctional Center; the Consent Calendar; Resolution No. 22-6021 authorizing the mayor to execute agreements with the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration for implementation of a local transactions and use tax and Resolution No. 22-6022, authorizing examination of sales or transactions and use taxes records; department reports; and future council items.