Special to RioLindaOnline by Kathy Santos-Reed
The RLECWD has come to the crossroad of success or abject failure. Â With two CDPH Compliance Orders and one set of citations against the district, the time has come to take our district forward or let it die on the vine.
The CDPH has told the district that funds have been set aside and the district will qualify for these funds if there is a rate increase sufficient to repay a $7.5 million dollar loan. Â However, the CDPH will not fund the project without a rate increase.
The minimum amount suggested by the CDPH is $5.46 monthly or an increase of $10.92 each billing cycle. Â Additionally there is $3.44 or $6.88 each billing cycle that is in addition to the minimum amount the state suggested.
Why is this $3.44 monthly being added to the suggested amount? Â This is because the CDPH is only suggesting the amount required to repay the $7.5 million dollar loan.
Historically, RLECWD water rates have remained incredibly low, far under what was needed to maintain our water system in good, safe repair. Â There was a water master plan developed for 2000 and 2003, more than eleven years ago. Â These plans set up what the district required. Due to the constant efforts by one special group to keep rates as low as possible, few, if any, of the recommended improvements were made. Â The EPA decreased the amount of arsenic allowed, from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion, in 2006, and the district lost two wells due to the arsenic levels.
The underground infrastructure of the district is in incredibly poor condition. Â There are multiple sized pipes underground which are all too small to adequately carry to water throughout the system. Â There are dead-end lines, transite concrete asbestos pipes and nearly all underground infrastructure has met nor exceeded its life expectancy. Â This leaves the system open to many leaks and increased chances of main breaks. Â All of these problems increase the chances of allowing bacteria into our water system, rendering it unsafe to drink.
The 2009-2010 Grand Jury closely study RLECWD and reported the water system to be unsafe for use as a community drinking water system. Â LAFCo has investigated our system and is recommending the district be taken over by another water purveyor is we do not take immediate steps to increase and improve our water system. Â We do not want to lose our water district to another source, because our rates would soar.
Residents of the RLECWD pay an approximate $100 of fire insurance over and above other areas of the County. Â This is because our pressure is too low to adequately fight fires. Â The improved system will serve to lower your fire insurance premiums. Â If you do not protest the entire rate increase, you will realize savings in other areas. Â The amount over and above what the CDPH suggested is only $41.28 annually. Â That would be less than one half of what you could save in fire insurance premiums annually.
The repair of our infrastructure is required in order for the three new wells to work appropriately. Â Without the required improvements, we will not have gained anything. Â Our new system will not work.
People are circulating a petition for residents to sign. Â This petition will cancel the rate increase and force increases to go before the voters in a special election. Â The special election will be an expense charged directly to the water district. Â Please do not sign the petition. Â These people are only determined to prevent the rate increase that is needed. Â Â The needed repairs are not part of their concern.
Visit the RLECWD website where you can read the Aronow Rate Increase Study. Â The study was done by professionals Â who study this information on a regular basis.
Even increased, our rates will remain far below those of surrounding areas and far below state and federal averages.
What price is your health and safety to you? Â This is the water you drink!