Posts

The Fallbrook PUD Board tour group initially drove from the FPUD administration building to the Alturas Road plant and then traveled along the pipeline alignment before arriving at the Gheen Pump Station. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utilities District

Fallbrook PUD Board Members Tour Construction Project

As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, public agencies have found creative solutions to holding meetings in compliance with the State of California’s meeting laws. Recently, Fallbrook Public Utility District board members stepped away from their video screens, using the opportunity to take a field trip to view a new project while conducting a traveling board meeting.

The Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project is a joint project with Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, and will eventually supply about 30% of the District’s water, and virtually all of Camp Pendleton’s water.

Fallbrook PUD board members view construction project

Construction of the first section of pipeline on Merida Drive is part of the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project. This segment of pipeline between Alturas and Mission roads is about 4,500 linear feet and is 35% installed. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utilities District Fallbrook PUD Board

Construction of the first section of pipeline on Merida Drive is part of the Santa Margarita River Conjunctive Use Project. This segment of pipeline between Alturas and Mission roads is about 4,500 linear feet and is 35% installed. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

At the time of the tour, the project had been under construction for 250 days. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing restrictions, board members and others who attended the traveling meeting stayed in their cars. While behind the wheel, board members wove through parts of Fallbrook to follow the path of the new pipeline. With their smartphones turned on and hands-free, representatives followed each other in a single file parade while listening to a live conference call with the project contractor.  Board members learned about construction progress, and saw where and how the pipe will be installed.

The tour and the project began at the treatment plant on Alturas Road, where bulldozers and heavy machinery are moving earth to build the pipeline and a water treatment plant. The pipeline will transport water from the plant through parts of central Fallbrook, ending at McDonald Road. The project also includes a new four million-gallon storage tank, where the tour ended. Participants discussed the possibility of a subsequent tour to view ongoing progress with construction of the facilities.

The entire construction process will take approximately two years to complete, with the pipeline becoming fully operational by 2022.

FPUD Adopts Resolution of Emergency

The Fallbrook Public Utility District adopted a resolution declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus epidemic.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote, April 27, authorized Jack Bebee, general manager of FPUD, and Dave Shank, the district’s chief financial officer, to submit any necessary requests for emergency-related financial assistance to the state’s Office of Emergency Services or to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re only doing it just because there’s a timeline to submit it,” Bebee said. “Right now, we’re not planning to submit anything.”

Toilet Paper Shortage Could Impact FPUD, Rainbow Sewer Systems

The shortage of toilet paper is causing some residents to utilize other wiping substances and, when toilets are flushed with some of those alternatives, local sewer lines are impacted.

“The primary issue we have when people do that is backups in the sewer,” Jack Bebee, general manager of Fallbrook Public Utility District, said.

“We’ve seen an increase in our maintenance needs related to dealing with items such as flushable wipes,” Tom Kennedy, general manager of Rainbow Municipal Water District, said.

“Paper towels are not particularly made either to get through the sewer system,” Bebee said.

Scratch paper, wax and other materials have been flushed down toilet drains and into the sewer systems.

“We find all sorts of things in there,” Kennedy said.

“Clogs have been caused by that,” Bebee said.

“We see the flushable wipes more than anything else. They’re not flushable. They might say flushable on the package, but they’re not flushable,” Kennedy said. “It doesn’t degrade. You need things that are biodegradable.”

Opinion: FPUD and Rainbow Make Brave Move to Save Ratepayers Money

Over the holidays, I received a letter from the San Diego County Water Authority designed to make customers of Fallbrook Public Utility District and Rainbow Municipal Water District worry. The tone of the letter alluded that if the two districts de-annex from the Water Authority, the reliability of our water supply would be at risk and our water prices could go up.

Since I have been to several community meetings where this change was discussed, I knew this insinuation was not true. FPUD and Rainbow have researched this option specifically to keep water rates down for our districts.

Anahy Ambriz of Maie Ellis Elementary won first place in the 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar contest.

Student Artwork Featured in 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Talented fourth-graders from Fallbrook area elementary schools picked up their pens, crayons, and watercolors to create the best and brightest water-conservation posters for the Fallbrook Public Utility District 2020 “Be Water Smart” calendar. Out of the 250 posters submitted, the work of 14 artists was selected.

Twelve of the winning images appear inside the calendar, one for each of the 12 months of the year. One image was chosen for the cover, and another was added for January 2021. The free calendars can be picked up at the Fallbrook Public Utility District office.

Vivid depiction of contest theme ‘Be Water Smart’

The students’ colorful images vividly depict the contest’s theme. Fallbrook judges scrutinized the entries to find the most eye-catching images illustrating the need for saving water.

The winning artists were recognized at the December 9 Fallbrook PUD board of directors meeting. Each student received a Walmart gift card, school supplies, and a signed certificate of commendation. The artists were also presented with a matted, framed version of their artwork. The first, second, and third place winners also received t-shirts customized with their own artwork.

The 2020 Fallbrook PUD calendar winners include:

First place: Anahy Ambriz, Maie Ellis Elementary

The artwork by first place winner Anahy Ambriz of Maie Ellis Elementary will appear on the cover of the 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar. Photo: FPUD 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

The artwork by first-place winner Anahy Ambriz of Maie Ellis Elementary will appear on the cover of the 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Second place: Samantha Mejia, Maie Ellis Elementary

Samantha Mejia of Maie Ellis Elementary is the second place winner. Photo: FPUD 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Samantha Mejia of Maie Ellis Elementary is the second-place winner. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Third place: Brisa Bailon, Maie Ellis Elementary

Brisa Bailon of Maie Ellis Elementary won third place. Photo: FPUD

Brisa Bailon of Maie Ellis Elementary won third place. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Additional winners include:

Leo Quick, Fallbrook STEM Academy

Work by Leo Quick of the Fallbrook STEM Academy. Photo: FPUD

Work by Leo Quick of the Fallbrook STEM Academy. Photo: FPUD

Kelly Jaimes, William H. Frazier Elementary

Kelly Jaimes, William H. Frazier Elementary 2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Kelly Jaimes, William H. Frazier Elementary. Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

Oscar Tovar, Live Oak Elementary

2020 Fallbrook PUD Calendar

Oscar Tovar, Live Oak Elementary, Photo: Fallbrook Public Utility District

(L to R): Isabella Magana, Alexandro Rojas, Gizalle Amezquita, and Ares Miramontes of Maie Ellis Elementary

(L to R): Kayla Arango, Nya Lin Ramirez, Abigail Perez, and Jennifer Wiscott of La Paloma Elementary

The annual contest is open only to Fallbrook Public Utility District fourth-graders because they have learned about water conservation and the water cycle by the fourth grade. Students from five elementary schools submitted entries.

The contest objective is to find the most eye-catching images illustrating the need for saving water. All 14 pieces of artwork will be displayed on the Fallbrook PUD website. They will also be displayed in the Fallbrook board room for a year and will be used in the district’s social media posts on Facebook and Twitter.

See the 2019 Fallbrook PUD Conservation Calendar artwork.

Several water agencies in the San Diego region sponsor calendar contests for students throughout the year with various conservation themes including ‘Water is Life‘ and ‘Be Water Smart.’ The contests offer opportunities for students to showcase their artistic skills while also thinking and learning about water conservation.

FPUD Awards Contract for Winter Haven Road Pipeline Replacement

The Fallbrook Public Utility District pipeline along Winter Haven Road will be replaced.

FPUD’s 4-0 board vote Dec. 9, with Don McDougal absent, approved the contract with Kirtley Construction for the San Bernardino company’s bid of $750,400.

FPUD Approves 2020 Rates

The Fallbrook Public Utility District approved FPUD rates and other charges for calendar year 2020.

FPUD’s board vote 4-0, Dec. 9, with Don McDougal absent, adopted the 2020 rates and charges for water, recycled water and wastewater delivery and services. Water and wastewater rates will increase by 8% while the increase for recycled water will be 4.5%.

Spaletta Chosen as FPUD Special Counsel for Santa Margarita Water Rights

The Fallbrook Public Utility District will use Jennifer Spaletta as FPUD’s special counsel for matters involving Santa Margarita River water rights.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote, Oct. 28, approved the legal services agreement with Spaletta Law. Spaletta replaces Martha Lennihan, who retired.

“We just retained another water rights attorney with a lot of experience and knowledge in the area,” FPUD general manager Jack Bebee said.

Riverside County LAFCO Conveys FPUD/Rainbow Reorganization to San Diego LAFCO

The potential reorganization in which the Fallbrook Public Utility District and the Rainbow Municipal Water District would detach from the San Diego County Water Authority and become part of the Eastern Municipal Water District will require approval from San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission, but Riverside County’s LAFCO has agreed to let the process be conducted entirely by San Diego County’s LAFCO.

L to R: Colter Shannon, Toby Stoneburner, Matt Perez, and Austin Wendt, stand in front of the utility vehicle they will take to Paradise, Calif. to help with water repairs from November’s treacherous Camp Fire. Photo: FPUD

Fallbrook PUD Crews Help Paradise Camp Fire Recovery Efforts

Crews from the Fallbrook Public Utility District are helping rebuild water services in Paradise, Calif. after the devastating November 2018 Camp Fire.

The Camp Fire burned 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,793 structures, caused 85 deaths and three firefighter injuries. The Camp Fire is the deadliest, most destructive fire in California’s history, according to CAL FIRE.

Colter Shannon and Austin Wendt left the FPUD yard Sept. 22 to make the 565-mile, 10-hour drive to Paradise. On Sept. 29, two more FPUD crew members, Toby Stoneburner and Matt Perez, will depart for the Butte County town. Each two-member team will spend two days driving and five days working on repairs for a total of seven days.

“I just want to help,” said Wendt. “That town went through devastation and I can actually do something to physically help. My wife and I always send backpacks to places devastated by hurricanes. For the most recent one, we sent 25 backpacks stuffed with school supplies.”

San Diego water agencies help Paradise Irrigation District

The Paradise Irrigation District is still struggling to repair the damaged infrastructure that resulted in more than 10,500 customers being issued a “do not drink” water advisory.

Two other San Diego County water agencies recently helped Camp Fire recovery efforts. Six water professionals from the Helix Water District and Padre Dam Municipal Water District spent one week in August assisting the Paradise Irrigation District.

Fallbrook PUD crews will bring back lessons learned to community

Their time away won’t cost FPUD a penny as their labor is reimbursed by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We’re doing this because we recognize that we are in a fire-prone area here in Fallbrook,” said Jack Bebee, FPUD general manager.

The Rice Fire in 2007 burned 206 homes, 9,472 acres, two commercial properties, and 40 outbuildings in the Fallbrook area. Bebee said he knows Fallbrook may one day need the help the crews are now providing to Paradise.

He said the crews can bring back with them some of the lessons they learn from the destruction and repair work. Bebee said the district is also working with North County Fire on emergency preparedness and the FPUD board room has been set up as an emergency command center in the event it is needed.