Donner Lake Water Co. cited again | SierraSun.com
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Donner Lake Water Co. cited again

DARIN OLDE, Sierra Sun

Donner Lake Water Company has received a citation from the California Department of Health Services for failure to perform a leak detection survey on the entire water distribution system. The citation is the third the company has received from the department this year.

According to a compliance order issued on Oct. 31, the leak detection survey examined only 13 miles of the 18.5 miles of pipeline in the system. The results revealed six major leaks amounting to an estimated total water loss of 61,920 gallons per day.

“We were cited for not doing a leak survey of Wolf Estates,” said Donner Lake Water Co. spokeswoman Karin Caves. “We didn’t survey the area because that is new pipe. That’s our oversight, and we will be doing a survey of that area.”

Donner Lake residents have been under a boil water notice since June, when the Department of Health Services declared low pressure and water outages increased the risk the system could become contaminated and cause illness.

In September, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a mandatory water conservation ordinance, a moratorium on new water connections to Donner Lake Water Co. and an audit of Robert Fortino, president and owner of Del Oro Water Company, the parent company for Donner Lake Water Co.

The water company was not fined for the latest violation.

The two previous citations by the Department of Health involved improperly certified personnel at the company’s existing water treatment facility and failure to provide a safe and reliable supply of potable water.

The newest citation requires the water company to have Utility Services Associates, the consultants who performed the initial leak detection survey, submit a distribution system map delineating the pipeline that has been included in the survey, and that the water company retain the services of a qualified leak detection firm to complete the examination. Donner Lake Water Co. must show proof of a complete leak detection survey by March 30, 2001.

Furthermore, Donner Lake Water Co. has been ordered to repair all leaks identified in the survey no later than May 18, 2001, and to contract with a qualified leak detection firm to resurvey the entire distribution system every six months beginning May 1, 2001, “until such time that the distribution piping is replaced with new piping.”

The order states that the company shall repair all leaks within 10 working days of their discovery.

“We feel that Donner Lake Water Co. has been mismanaged,” wrote members of Donner Lake Citizens Committee, a group of seven lake residents working to promote the Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s involvement in the situation. “Our safety has been jeopardized unnecessarily, our money has been improperly allocated, and finally, our confidence and trust with Del Oro has deteriorated like our pipes and tanks.”

Caves said Donner Lake Water Co. will begin replacing pipeline starting April 2001, and hopes to have the $1.5 million mainline pipe in the ground by June 1.


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