The Fallbrook Public Utility District is now accepting applications for customers to receive free, drought-tolerant succulents. Approved applicants will receive the plants, free of charge, to transform their landscape and save water.
Although the Fallbrook Public Utility District water storage tank uphill from South Mission Road has received a fresh set of painted numbers annually for 35 years, this week’s update was the most anticipated makeover ever.
FPUD crews change the painted numbers on the tank to reflect the year incoming seniors will graduate at Fallbrook High School. A three-person team made up of district employees Matt Lian, Colter Shannon, and Toby Stoneburner recently painted over the “21,” changing it to “22” to welcome the graduating class of 2022.
It took the team five hours to paint the 25-foot-tall numbers onto the 3.6 million-gallon tank, compressed through the magic of time-lapse video to under 30 seconds.
“Parents and Fallbrook High seniors anxiously await the painting of the tank and begin calling the office early in June to find out when we’re doing it,” said Noelle Denke, FPUD public affairs officer. “This year, it’s especially exciting for them because they’re going back to campus and need something to look forward to.”
The reason for the annual external makeover dates back 35 years. Before the district started painting the tank, Fallbrook High seniors took on a longstanding dare. They would climb up the hill in the middle of the night, scale the tank and then paint it themselves.
Since it’s a long way down, FPUD staff became concerned for student safety. Workers installed a fence at the time to prevent access by the annual stealth painting crew.
But it didn’t deter the energetic students. Instead, they just began jumping the fence in the middle of the night. So district officials struck a deal with the students. If they would stop risking their safety for the dare, FPUD would safely paint the tank every year to commemorate them.
A 25-foot salute to Fallbrook High’s graduating seniors
“We’ve been doing it ever since,” said Denke.
Since the tank shares the space with several cell towers, Fallbrook Public Utility District makes arrangements to power down their towers. Then crews safely hoist themselves up to the tower and get to work painting.
Rattlesnake Tank was built in the early 1950s and is one of Fallbrook’s oldest and most visible water tanks.
Students at Fallbrook High, Oasis High or Ivy High schools can now apply online for a paid summer internship at Fallbrook Public Utility District. This year, FPUD is looking for students interested in a career in social media and customer service. The internship is available to any student enrolled in one of those schools as a junior or senior for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. Candidates must be 16 years or older on the first day of the internship, July 12. Pay will be $14 per hour, and the intern will work three hours per week, for six weeks. The internship is designed for students looking to help with social media outreach, create posts and videos, assist with outreach and developing ideas, and learn more about the water industry. It will provide a hands-on learning experience to help build skills and knowledge to help guide students to potential career paths.
The Fallbrook Public Utility District contract for the Ross Lake pressure reducing valve project was awarded to Genesis Construction.
The Hemet company had the low bid for the FPUD project, and on April 26 the FPUD board voted 5-0 to approve a $51,444 contract with Genesis Construction.
While repairing leaks of Fallbrook Public Utility District facilities, FPUD staff temporarily patched 40 sites with cold mix asphalt. On March 22, FPUD’s board awarded Onyx Paving a contract for a one-time paving project to replace the cold mix patches with permanent hot mix paving. The 5-0 vote awarded Onyx Paving the contract for $77,120.
The Fallbrook Public Utility District approved a contract with SCADA Integrations to upgrade the conveyor system at FPUD’s Water Reclamation Plant with a programmable logic controller system.
A 5-0 FPUD board vote Monday, March 22, approved the request for proposals submission from SCADA Integrations. The upgrade will be constructed in two phases, and the contract has a total value of $128,470.
SRK Engineering received the Fallbrook Public Utility District contract to replace FPUD’s Gum Tree Pipeline.
The FPUD board voted 5-0 Monday, March 22, to award SRK a $428,500 contract, which matches the Escondido company’s bid. The work will replace approximately 1,400 feet of 20-inch diameter cement mortar lined and coated steel pipe along with associated appurtenances.
The Fallbrook Public Utility District board approved a change order to the contract with Filanc Alberici JV to construct the Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project. A 5-0 FPUD board vote Feb. 22 approved a change order which will add $3,389,801 to the price of the contract.
The Fallbrook Public Utility District will be acquiring a boom truck crane.
A 5-0 FPUD board vote Feb. 22 approved the purchase of a boom truck crane from Velocity Truck Centers for the amount of $314,627.03.
“The crane is critical to our work replacing valves throughout the district,” said FPUD General Manager Jack Bebee.
The annual “Be WaterSmart” student poster contest is a favorite tradition in many San Diego County classrooms, including elementary schools in the Fallbrook Public Utility District. In most years, 250 students submit entries, with the top submissions selected for publication.
But 2020 wasn’t a typical year. Remote learning challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic meant little time left for students and teachers to participate. Fallbrook PUD public affairs representative Noelle Denke normally visits every participating classroom in October for a fun, interactive water themed bingo game to teach students about water conservation and get their minds rolling on poster themes.
Guillermo Acevedo teaches fourth grade at Live Oak Elementary School and loves the “Be WaterSmart” poster contest. His students have participated for 16 years, and he wouldn’t give up on the contest he loves. Acevedo found a way to make it work this year.
Thanks to Acevedo, 16 students submitted entries. They were the Fallbrook PUD’s only entries in 2021, and there were just enough to make the annual calendar come to life.
Teamwork plus creativity teaches valuable lesson
The annual contest is open to all fourth-graders in FPUD’s service area. Teachers play a key role in encouraging or requiring their students to enter. Fourth-graders are chosen because they have studied water conservation and the water cycle in earlier grades.
Since in-person classroom visits were not an option, and uncertainty remained whether students would return to the classroom soon, Denke wasn’t sure if there would be any participation.
“No participation means no calendar,” said Denke. “So I reached out to Mr. Acevedo to see if he had any ideas. Together, we brainstormed. We extended the deadline, made a video explaining the contest and sent it to all the fourth-grade teachers in the district.”
During a brief, two-week return to the classroom in January, Acevedo worked with his students to make their posters. All 16 submissions came from his class. All ended up being high-quality choices for inclusion in the 2021 calendar.
“This is by far my favorite contest,” said Acevedo. “As teachers, we are approached with so many contests. This one gives the kids the most recognition. They learn so much and have so much fun playing water bingo and then making their posters.”
Winning students and Acevedo were recognized at the Fallbrook PUD virtual board meeting February 22.
Fallbrook student calendar poster contest winners
Additional winners include Bruce Byrd, Adrian Calderon, Edgar Campos, Annabella Cunningham, Brandon Garcia, Jocelyn Garcia, Tobin Marshall, Natalie Mendoza, Ryder Orozco, Evan Pellanda, Deisy Ramos, Ewny Sebastian, and Noah Varela.
This will be the first time the annual calendar will feature entries from just one class. It is also the first time FPUD will be producing an 18-month calendar. The free calendar can be picked up at Major Market, Northgate Market, Albertson’s, Joe’s Hardware, and the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce.