The Fern Valley Water District (FVWD) has resolved one customer problem concerning a sewer line shared with the district office, but will face a different problem at a December small claims court date.

The sewer line issue came to the district’s attention in March, when a new owner purchased the property directly north of the district office. The owner noticed the sewer line had backed up and, upon inquiring of FVWD, discovered the two properties shared the same lateral sewer line. The issue precedes the district’s ownership of its present site (July 19, 1984). The sewer lines are the property of Idyllwild Water District (IWD).

At the Oct. 21 FVWD board meeting, General Manager Steve Erler said the problem dated from the time when the same person owned both properties. After division at a subsequent transfer, the private property north of the district office never received a separate sewer connection.

Erler met with Idyllwild Water District’s General Manager Terry Lyons and the two agreed to remedy the problem by installing a separate sewer lateral to the other property. Both districts will share the cost. The affected homeowner said he would participate at some level in the project’s cost, according to Erler.

In the second matter, customer Ray Brown claims FVWD damaged the driveway of a property he owns, performed a substandard repair and should therefore pay $3,000 for a proper repair.

According to Brown’s claim, the damage came from a pipeline leak that began in September 2009 and continued sporadically through November 2010. Brown had earlier turned down a district settlement offer to pay one-half of the lowest bid for repairing the driveway (one-half of $2,500 or $1,250). The board directed Erler to appear in court to answer Brown’s claim.

Erler also reported on district efforts to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency Stage 2 “Disinfection By-Products Rule” ordered by the state Department of Public Health (DPH). On June 6, DPH directed the district to review its distribution system operations and re-evaluate the effectiveness of the granular-activated carbon adsorption treatment system it installed to meet Stage 1 requirements. The system treated levels of trihalomethane (TTHM) and haloacedic acids (HAA5) that exceeded EPA maximum contaminant levels.

Now, because Stage 2 requires a “locational running average,” each monitoring site must be in compliance rather than an average of all sites, which the district had used to satisfy Stage 1 requirements. The order requires the district review seasonal differences in water source usage and demand, water quality, distribution system storage tank operations and storage capacity. Additionally, the district must identify problems that may contribute to the higher TTHM and HAA5 levels. “Due to the complexity of this issue, consulting engineer Brian Knoll, with Albert A. Webb Associates, is assisting the district with this review,” Erler reported. Stage 2 regulations go into effect Oct. 1, 2013.