The board of the Fern Valley Water District voted to accept an $845,440 bid from T.A. Rivard Inc. of Riverside for the district’s pipeline replacement project. The project will replace pipelines on Fern Valley, Howland and Encino Roads and is expected to be completed in the middle of September. Total cost of the project is nearly $1.1 million of which the Rivard bid is part and project supervision and contingency costs make up the rest.

Rivard submitted the lowest responsible bid, $30,000 less than the nearest competitor, El-Co Contractors, with whom the district has long done business. Director Robert Krieger recommended accepting the bid because it was the lowest responsible bid, conformed to guideline requirements, and that Rivard is a long-established business.

Albert A. Webb Associates, the civil engineering and planning firm that has long worked with the district to perform project studies and create drawings, plans and permits, drew up the Fern Valley pipeline replacement specifications and recommended the district award the bid to Rivard as the lowest responsible bidder.

General Manager Steve Erler recommended Webb also be contracted to provide construction administration and inspection since district staff is limited at this time. The proposed Webb contract would total $87,750. At the suggestion of director Krieger, the board authorized Erler to negotiate with Webb to see what functions district staff might still be able to perform in cooperation with Webb that could lessen the contract amount.

In his general manager report, Erler said staff installed 36 new ventilation caps on tank 11, which has been the target of numerous water taste and odor complaints. Erler said the caps would provide more uniform ventilation than the single center vent they replaced.

The tank, currently offline, has been cleaned and is being filled, according to Erler. Once the tank is near 30 percent of maximum capacity, and after water samples test appropriately, the tank will be placed back in service. Erler said staff would cycle the water in the tank as frequently as possible and slowly increase tank water levels as water demand increases in the district.

Erler noted district water production is up 19.5 percent from the same time period last year and that water sales are up 51.3 percent.

The board reviewed a draft budget for fiscal 2013-14 that shows $1.1 million in total projected income and $1.7 million in total expenses for a net loss of more than $635,000. The expenses are higher next year to cover the cost of the pipeline replacement contract.

District reserves, which currently stand at $1.46 million, would be used to balance the budget, leaving district reserves at end of fiscal 2013-14 at $785,000 if all taxes come in as projected, according to office manager Jessica Priefer.