Lake Forest to receive more utility water |

Lake Forest to receive more utility water

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoA pipe takes water out of Lake Tahoe on Skylandia Beach for Lake Forest Water Company's water supply. Lake Forest Water Company started using lake water again in late July, and released a warning about the possibilities of giardia and cryptosperidium in the untreated water.

Lake Forest residents may no longer be subjected to unfiltered drinking water.

At a Tahoe City Public Utility District meeting Tuesday, the board of directors voted to supply the private water system with a larger connection to district water.

Lake Forest Water Company serves 149 customers in a Tahoe City neighborhood, and has been under scrutiny for several months regarding water quality and supply concerns.

The system’s operator, Rick Dewante, also manages private water systems in the Skyland Nielson and Tahoe Park neighborhoods on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore, which have a history of complaints, too.

Lake Forest homeowners circulated a petition this summer that more than 72 percent signed, requesting the public utility district take over their water delivery.

Though the district board of directors accepted the petition at an earlier meeting, they voted Tuesday to certify the petitions as true and accurate. District staff compared the individual petition information against the Placer County Tax Roll and found all the information to be correct.

Also on Tuesday, the board voted to enter into an agreement with Dewante to provide a larger connection to serve district water to the homeowners.

“[Dewante] needs to upgrade to supply his customers water 100 percent from us, therefore serving them with drinking water compliant with standards,” utility district General Manager Bob Lourey said in a phone interview Thursday. “That will bring him into compliance with the Department of Health Services.”

Because July and August are high consumption months, Dewante turned on a connection to Lake Tahoe on July 31 and served his customers water the State of California considers unsafe to drink without treatment.

But he has since asked for the aid of the public utility district. In August, Dewante asked the district to upgrade his 2-inch connection to a 3-inch connection, providing about twice as much water to his customers and making a lake connection unnecessary, he said.

“The demand in August is just a little more than what we can provide with a 2-inch [connection],” he said. “I just want to buy water, just like any other customer ” like a trailer park or campground that his its own distribution system.”

Dewante said the project will cost about $10,000 and will allay his customers’ concerns about the safety of their drinking water.

“They won’t have this precaution, this fear, that they might have to boil the water. It removes all the concern with lake water,” he said.

The neighborhood will continue to be connected to unfiltered lake water for a few more days, Dewante said.

While the directors met in closed session Tuesday and voted to provide Lake Forest a larger connection, the terms of agreement are subject to small changes, Lourey said.

District staff determined in a previous study that the utility has the capacity to serve a larger connection to Lake Forest homeowners, but would first require improvements to the Rocky Ridge Booster Station. The project is under way and should be completed soon, district officials said.

As far as the possible acquisition of the private water system, the district agreed at a previous meeting to spend up to $25,000 to determine the value of the system. Following an appraisal, the district will make a fair offer to purchase the system from Dewante, district officials said.

The board of directors will later have to determine how much money, if any, to invest in upgrading the private system to meet district standards.

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