California Water Service has cleared one of the last major hurdles for a critical $60 million water pipeline project on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, having resolved the bulk of residents’ concerns about noise, aesthetics and geotechnical issues.
The Water Reliability Project would install a pipeline along portions of Palos Verdes Drive North and Crenshaw Boulevard and the new pump station near the corner of Silver Spur Road and Crenshaw.
Residents voiced their concerns about potential operational noise generated by the pump station that could possibly echo off the surrounding canyon walls. And residents took issue with the station’s design, which they said did not blend in with the houses in the area at the March 27 Rolling Hills Estates City Council meeting.
The council continued the item until Tuesday’s meeting so the city’s consultant, Environmental Science Associates, could study the problems further.
In a clarifying technical memo, ESA said the pump station will be in compliance with the local noise ordinance and well within the maximum allowable 45 decibel noise levels at nearby residential property lines.
Cal Water agreed to change the style of the pump house to fit in with the Mediterranean style of nearby homes, instead of the original ranch style, officials said at the meeting.
Also, officials said no geotechnical issues arose in a 2015 report on the area.
Because 90 percent of the Peninsula’s water is brought up by a single 60-year-old pipe that has reached the end of its lifespan, the project is badly needed to add redundancy and reliability to the area’s water sources, officials say. The new pipe will run parallel to the old one and replace portions of old pipe that runs under a set of homes in the area.
The new, fully welded and cement mortar-lined steel pipeline is estimated to last for the next 75 to 100 years, Cal Water officials said.
Cal Water customers will have to pitch in to cover the costs — about $30 a month for an average residential water bill and $150 a month for an average commercial bill — but they won’t see a change in their bill until at least 2020 when the project is completed. The state Public Utilities Commission will also have to approve any rate increases.
For many residents the project approval is a sigh of relief. Tim Buresh, a local civil engineer, is concerned about when the next big earthquake will happen in Los Angeles.
“San Francisco was not destroyed by the earthquake, it was destroyed by the fire. Same thing happened in Northridge, dozens of fires broke out,” said Buresh, who implored the council to approve the project after giving additional suggestions on the project at Tuesday night’s council meeting.
“Water reliability and safety — in quantities that are nowhere near the normal demand — are the reality when those events happen,” Bureshsaid. “We do not have a lot of water storage on the hill.”
For Cal Water, the work is just getting started. Construction on the 18-month project is set to begin in early June near Dapplegray Elementary School and end in fall of 2019.