Fern Valley considers expanded leak detection program

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Leak detection was discussed thoroughly during last week’s Fern Valley Water District meeting. Following up on President Robert Krieger’s suggestion during the February meeting, General Manager Steve Erler said he had contacted American Leak Detection about the possibility of surveying the district’s entire pipeline system.

A decision was not made during the meeting, but Erler thought the cost, between $5,000 and $6,000 for a week, was reasonable and could be paid from maintenance funds.

“Our water losses continue and it seems to me that we need to grab ahold of problem rather than go segment to segment,” urged Krieger. Over the past six months, the district has found and repaired 14 leaks that were flowing at about 6 to 10 gallons per minute, according to Erler.

He complimented the staff for how quickly they repaired the identified leaks. Erler also praised Adam Baker, field operator, for his ability to find, pursue and fix leaks.

Yet Krieger thought a system-wide review would provide a reliable base of the status quo to pursue and reduce future leaks.

Referring to the FVWD’s unaccounted-for water production each month, which was 18.8 percent during January and February, Krieger said, “It normally ranges between 10 and 20 percent. Ten percent is acceptable, but 20 percent is too high.”

Director Charlie Wix and Krieger also emphasized that the continuing repair effort must be compared to the cost of replacing the pipeline. Erler replied that he was considering another pipeline project next year. Doing these projects every other year would allow the district to save fixed costs, such as logistics, which are required for every project, but unrelated to the project’s size.

In other business, Erler discussed the district’s current water supply. “Our water supply is sufficient to meet the demand and future demand,” he told the board. “The stream flow is going down each day.” The groundwater level of FVWD wells all rose during February. Well no. 2 increased more than 11 feet, according to Erler.

During the spring and summer, he expects the district will be relying on its groundwater to a much greater extent. “It should be sufficient to keep up with demand; but I monitor the situation regularly,” he stated.

“During the last drought, the groundwater was sufficient for two to three years,” commented Krieger.

During January and February, FVWD consumption was 4.2 million gallons, which was 1.1 million (20 percent) less than the same period in 2013. “The good news is people are conserving, the bad news is conservation,” said Director Ron Korman, who was commenting on the nearly $10,000 decline in water revenues between the two years.

However, Office Manager Jessica Priefer pointed out that the decline was related to circumstances unique to last year since the 2014 consumption was very similar to the 2012 level of 4.3 million gallons.

Special district employee costs — FVWD
Fern Valley Water District (FVWD) employee expenses have been reported to the State Controller. The Controller’s Office says the information presented is posted as submitted by the reporting entity. The State Controller’s Office is not responsible for the accuracy of this information. The website is publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/SpecialDistricts/SpecialDistricts.aspx

Position Total Wages Total Retirement & Health Cost
District Manager $95,574 $25,345
Field Operator $52,509 $13,559
Office Manager $43,783 $19,602
Field Operator $30,226 $17,181
Field Operator $18,430 $1,922
Board Members
Director $850
Director $800
Director $750
Director $600
Director $400
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