Aug 29, 2006

California Corrections Plant Underway Soon

Officials at California Correctional Institution and Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District have said they are confident that by the end of the year construction on a new wastewater treatment facility at CCI will begin.

Greg O'Brien, associate warden at CCI, told Tehachapi News that the final bid documents on the new facility should be completed by the end of August. The call for construction bids will be issued on Sept. 11.

Prospective contractors will have 45 days to submit bids, and the contractor will be selected 45 days later. O’Brien feels the project could get started as early as December.

Meanwhile, TCCWD manager Bob Jasper told Tehachapi News that he does not foresee any roadblocks in finalizing a contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to use water from the new wastewater treatment plant for turf grass production in Cummings Valley.

The district plans to sell the treated wastewater for turf production because it

Harry Cowan, president of the TCCWD board of directors, pointed to the administration at CCI as deserving credit for the success of this year long effort to solve the prison’s wastewater disposal problem.

Effluent from the current wastewater treatment facilities at CCI have been contaminating parts of the groundwater reservoir in Cummings Valley, and other water users in the area, including Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Joe Sullivan, CCI warden, credits State Senator Roy Ashburn as being integral to the process, as he helped with financial issues that delayed the project in the past. The treatment plant has been put to bid twice already, but both times the submitted bids been over the state engineers' estimates, which stalled plans. Sullivan told Tehachapi News that Senator Ashburn appears to have extracted commitments in Sacramento that will avoid that outcome in the future.

Operations manager for TCCWD Glenn Mueller said that the new plant should return as much as 1,000 acre feet of water yearly to the Cummings Valley basin, which will take place of the water that otherwise would have been sent to the San Joaquin Valley more then 3,000 vertical feet away from the California Aqueduct.