San Juan Bautista residents are finally in the clear from that nasty water discoloration.
The Mission City’s top officials are hoping their latest fixes to the local well system mean the discolored water, which has drawn the ire of local residents in recent weeks, will be gone for good.
The city earlier this week declared on its website that it cleared up the water by finishing work on Well No. 6 and going online with it. That meant the community could get off Well No. 5, which had been causing the water discoloration.
Interim City Manager Ed Tewes explained that the water had been discolored due to high levels of iron/manganese found in that well.
As for the new Well No. 6, the city council last July approved the low bid of $138,150 from Maggiora Bros. along with a $25,000 contingency. The project was part of a series of upgrades, which also included the city’s opening of an iron/manganese treatment plant, costing in excess of $1 million, Tewes said.
The interim city manager noted how developers for the Copperleaf subdivision received a credit on its water fees for the $350,000 it contributed to repairs. Developers from Rancho Vista paid the city about $400,000.
As for the home-building companies, both had an interest in getting the repairs done since they could not hook up to the water system during a prior moratorium caused by the high nitrate issue.
The city purchased Well No. 6, meanwhile, from organic farmer Dale Coke.
San Juan will continue maintaining Well No. 5 as a backup, as redundancy is required by the state, Tewes said.
Tewes was confident the discoloration issue is in local residents’ past.
“No, there’s no reason to believe we would have discoloration in the future,” he said Friday.
The interim manager did, meanwhile, acknowledge the state is keeping a close eye on the iron/manganese levels that startled many San Juan Bautista residents, some of whom shared images of their harshly discolored water on social media.
“We get notices from them,” Tewes said of the state. “We monitor almost daily water supplies.”
Mayor Cesar Flores reacted to the water upgrade news by pointing out the discoloration is in certain parts of town, such as the business district along Third Street.
“It’s just certain parts of the town because I’ve never had any water discoloration. I drink water out of the faucet now,” he said.
He believes it might have to do with an aging pipe system.
“We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got,” he said. “It’s a very expensive situation.”
Photo courtesy of the City of San Juan Bautista
City of San Juan Bautista announcement posted May 7 at san-juan-bautista.ca.us:
We are pleased to announce that one of the City’s two new wells, Well #6, is now fully operational and has been supplementing the City water supply since May 4. As a result, the reservoir tank (at the top of Lasuen Drive) has been filled providing an extra measure of fire protection and increasing the water pressure available at your tap.
The water from Well #6 meets or exceeds all State and Federal water quality standards.
Other work continues to put Well #5 on line. That will require the use of special filters to remove iron and manganese from that source of supply. We anticipate that the additional work will be complete by the end of May. Because Well #6 was not yet on line, it was necessary to run Well #5 for a few days last month to meet system demand. That was the source of discoloration in the water. Since then, the City has also flushed most of the old water mains, and the water being delivered now “runs clear.”
Interim City Manager