$1.6-million project to connect Tuolumne County properties to reliable drinking water

By on August 23, 2017

Thanks to collaborative efforts by the State Water Resources Control Board, Tuolumne County, Tuolumne Utilities District and the California Department of Water Resources, property owners in the Tuolumne County’s Quartz and Stent communities in Jamestown will soon have access to clean and reliable drinking water. The $1.6-million project seeks to resolve dry or contaminated wells and connect 57 properties to a safe and dependable water source.

A 2015 investigation in Tuolumne County revealed that eight private wells serving 16 residences had gone dry; other homes were using other wells with high levels of nitrate and arsenic that exceeded state and federal drinking water standards. The Tuolumne County Environmental Health Department had sought assistance from the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water to address drought conditions and conduct water quality monitoring of private wells located in the Quartz and Stent communities, approximately six miles southwest of Sonora, which revealed the excessive nitrate and arsenic levels.

The Tuolumne Utilities District (TUD) was able to extend the water main of its Sonora-Jamestown water system with funding and technical help from both state and local agencies in order to connect properties where private wells had gone dry or became contaminated. Thus far, TUD has completed the main line extension project, which consisted of approximately 12,000 feet of pipeline that will support a total of 97 homes. Fifty-seven properties have been identified for water system connection in the initial phase with the potential for connection for 40 additional properties.

“We’re really proud of the effort by everyone involved on this project who came together to protect the health and safety of this community,” said Kassy Chauhan, the lead engineer on the project for the State Water Board’s Division of Drinking Water. “We’re especially grateful to the Tuolumne Utilities District, which has been a consolidation partner in the region and serves water to approximately 85 percent of the county’s residents. The Quartz–Stent Water Main Extension Project is an example of TUD’s willingness to connect residents to their public water systems in an effort to ensure that all county residents have access to clean and affordable drinking water.”

With the completion of the pipeline, 33 of the 57 identified properties have been connected to the public water system and are receiving water that meets state and federal drinking water standards. Although some property owners have not yet decided when they will connect to the water system the Tuolumne Utilities District anticipates many of the remaining 24 properties eligible in the initial phase will connect to the water system either later this year or in 2018.

“Thanks to the help of the county, the state, and all others involved, we were able to complete this project under budget and ahead of schedule,” said Thomas J. Haglund, general manager of the Tuolumne Utilities District. “We’re pleased to be a part of this project that provides the residents of Quartz and Stent the ability to connect to our public water system and have access to safe, clean, and reliable drinking water.”