OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- It is not something you want to see when you open the tap, but discolored water is something Oakhurst residents said they have been dealing with for years.
"The only thing we do is wash clothes, and basically bathe in it. Everything else is done with bottled water," said Michael Sesto, Oakhurst resident.
They said the water is dirty water tainted with traces of uranium and arsenic. Now, officials said a solution to the murky water is on its way.
"This will bring the water quality of Oakhurst, the Hillview Water Company, in compliance with all state and federal water requirements," said Rami Kahlon, California Public Utilities Commission.
State and county officials came together on Friday to mark the start of a clear future for Oakhurst water.
The Oakhurst-Sierra Lakes Water Treatment Facility is a step closer to completion. It includes facilities to treat for iron, manganese, arsenic, and uranium-- as well as massive water storage tanks and new wells.
The president of Hillview Water Company said this will help with the discoloration, but customers could still see that brown water throughout the construction of the plant.
"They won't see a lot of change until the project is done, then we'll have to do extensive flushing to get all the precipitation out of the pipeline so it doesn't come through," said Roger Forrester, Hillview Water Company.
The Forest Ridge and Sierra Lakes project are grant funded projects, so customers won't have to shell out the money. However, customers could see higher water bills down the road.
"As these two treatment plans come online later this year and spring 2018, there will be some additional expenses associated with that," said Kahlon.
But residents are hoping it's finished sooner rather than later.
"The quicker they can get it done, the better it will be for everybody," said Sesto.
Water tanks similar to those being built are already online in Sierra Lakes. Those being built need some more work done, but they are expected to be online by the end of this year.
Hillview To Break Ground On New Water Treatment Plant
Posted by: Kellie Flanagan
March 22, 2017 - 4:00 pm
OAKHURST — Hillview Water Company (HWC) recently announced awarding a $2 million contract to Hobbs Construction, of Fresno, to build the Sierra Lakes uranium, arsenic, iron, and manganese water treatment plant. The existing tanks on Road 426 at the current Sierra Lakes facility will be removed and replaced by an all-new facility.
“We are pleased to have Hobbs Construction as our general contractor to build this long-awaited and much needed water treatment plant,” says Manager James Foster. “This project will allow us to filter the uranium, iron, arsenic, and manganese out of the water we pump from deep in these granitic mountains. We have been working hard to start this project for many years.”
Hillview provides more than 161 million gallons of water annually to 1,000-plus customers, according to the company’s president, Roger Forrester.
“We have finally received the green light to use the grant fund monies we were awarded in 2007. This treatment plant will filter the unwanted elements out of the water we provide, meet and exceed all state and EPA standards, and enable us to deliver the fresh, pure water our community wants and deserves.”
Waterboards Senior Engineer Kassy Chauhan agrees.
“Hillview Water Company has worked long and hard for many years to bring this project to fruition,” notes Chauhan. “In partnership with the State Water Board’s Division of Financial Assistance and the Division of Drinking Water, the HWC was able to develop innovative ways to best utilize the grant dollars to ensure that the project is completed on time and within the allocated budget.”
At the completion of the project Chauhan says HWC will be delivering water to their customers that complies with all primary and secondary drinking water standards.
“HWC has been a regional resource in the area by consolidating private homes as well as other community water systems into the HWC system,” she continues.”As such, the region as a whole will have access to water that meets all of the drinking water standards.”
The uranium removal system and water tanks have been ordered and Hobbs Construction is scheduled to begin building the water purification plant in early May. The plant is scheduled to be operational by this winter. A ground breaking celebration is scheduled.
Source: Hillview Water