San Pablo holding public meeting on water pipeline project

June 19, 2013 3:14:18 PM PDT
A public meeting will be held in San Pablo Wednesday night to discuss a proposed $65 million water pipeline construction project that would serve a number of East Bay communities.

The East Bay Municipal Utility District's "West of Hills Northern Pipelines Project" aims to build 8.5 miles of new water transmission lines that would run through North Oakland, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Richmond, San Pablo, Pinole, Hercules, Crockett and other nearby unincorporated communities, according to the district.

During tonight's meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at Maple Hall at 13831 San Pablo Ave., the public will have a chance to review the district's draft environmental impact report for the project. Attendees are invited to share questions, comments or concerns about the project.

The deadline to submit feedback on the report is July 2.

The meeting is the second of three on the water pipeline project.

District spokesman Charles Hardy said the construction of new 36-inch and 48-inch pipeline segments is meant to upgrade the district's current water delivery system to "deliver the same quality of water in a reliable fashion to people in that area for the foreseeable future."

Hardy said the multimillion-dollar project will be paid for through the district's capital improvement fund and is not expected to result in rate increases.

The new pipe segments will run parallel to the district's existing pipelines, which were built in 1929 and 1935, said Tim McGowan, an associate civil engineer for the district.

"Our ability to supply our pumping plants and our reservoirs has gone down between 1935 and now, and there has been a lot of growth in North Richmond and beyond," he said.

The changing local landscape has resulted in the district struggling to both meet its customers' water needs and also keep its reservoirs full, especially during hot summer days, McGowan said.

In addition, customers in parts of San Pablo, Richmond and El Cerrito sometimes experience changes in water pressure due to their proximity to a water pumping plant in San Pablo, McGowan said.

He said the upgraded pipeline system would allow the district to transport water to reservoirs more quickly while keeping water pressure stable.

Construction on the pipeline project would begin in mid-2015 and is projected to wrap up in 2023, Hardy said.

The final public meeting to review the draft EIR is scheduled for 6 p.m. on June 26 at El Cerrito High School at 540 Ashbury Ave. The draft EIR can also be viewed at www.ebmud.com.


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