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Grand Jury investigates Del Oro

Staff reports

Following an article published in the Sierra Sun on Aug. 12, 1999 and a letter written to the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) asking the Commission to investigate the Del Oro Water Company the Grand Jury investigated the issue and released its findings.

The Grand Jury concluded that Donner Lake Water Co. has been out of compliance with State Water Regulations for more than seven years, and that neither the California Department of Health Services, the Nevada County Health Department nor the owner, Del Oro Water Company, has demonstrated a sense of urgency in resolving this matter.

The Grand Jury’s report also concludes that CDHS maintained a lenient position by excusing the company for missed deadlines and non-compliance and continuing to grant it excessive time extensions to complete the new water treatment facility without fines or penalties.

The Grand Jury said that NCDEH played a passive role because the company fell under the jurisdiction of the state and not the county.

The jury said Del Oro Water Co. presented an attitude of indifference in keeping its customers properly informed on a timely basis and that it continues to be in non-compliance. The jury said the language of the quarterly notices minimizes the potential health risk to its customers and does not comply with the state regulations mentioned in Finding 14.

The Grand Jury recommends that the CDHS take a more rigid position with Del Oro Water Co. regarding compliance with deadlines and refrain from granting further extensions for completion of the new water treatment facility. Further violations of the compliance schedule should be dealt with under Section 116725(b) of the California Health and Safety Code and maximum penalties levied as allowed under the Code.

In addition, the Grand Jury urges the NCDEH to be more assertive in its responsibility for protecting the health of Nevada County residents. It should bring maximum pressure to bear both on the CDHS and on the water Company to assure full compliance with the construction schedule included in the Compliance Order for the new water treatment facility.


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