Idyllwild Water District held another special meeting Dec. 9 to approve a bid to repair sewer breakage on Estate Drive. The board unanimously approved the bid with three of the five board members present. Directors David Hunt and Les Gin were absent. Directors Steve Kunkle, Dr. Charles Schelly and Peter Szabadi were present.
According to the memo prepared by Acting General Manager Mitch Freeman, “some time ago (October 2019), a mismarked sewer line resulted in Southern California Edison (SCE) augering through an 8-inch sewer main for a power pole replacement. The new pole is now blocking the flow of wastewater in the main. The pole must be moved out of the sewer main and the main must be excavated and repaired. The main is estimated to be 7 to 8 feet deep requiring shoring equipment we [IWD] do not have.”
“We have not been able to reestablish flow,” Freeman told the board. “So, we have been pumping it from a little sinkhole by the new power pole into a manhole. We haven’t had a spill as of yet. We have kept it contained.”
Freeman told the board that he contacted two companies for bids: one from El-Co Contractors, Inc. for $30,800 and another from Taylor Underground (out of San Jacinto) for $19,460. He will have to coordinate the work between SCE (remove power pole) and Taylor Underground, the company that won the bid, telling the board that the work should only last a day but probably one very long day.
During the discussion on the item, Freeman told the board that this was brought to his attention two days before Thanksgiving, approximately three weeks after the power pole replacement.
There will possibly be a charge from SCE for moving the pole. Freeman told the board that he cannot say yes or no at this time.
Szabadi asked Freeman: “This is clearly our error?”
“Yes,” Freeman replied.
Szabadi also brought up wanting to establish a plan so that this does not happen again. There will be a cost in addition to the $19,460 for the disposal of the hazardous material.
The board went into closed session after this portion of the meeting to review Freeman’s performance. Schelly reported out after the closed session meeting, “We are very pleased with his performance thus far and he will continue to be employed here at IWD.”

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