RCSD looking towards rate increases; old terracotta pipes need to be replaced

Dave Brooksher

Redwood Times

The Redway Community Services District's February meeting dealt largely with the need for a rate-increase. To stay in the black, the district will need to begin generating an additional $5,000 per month - which could be accomplished by raising water and waste-water rates by $3-$10 each. There was also some discussion of raising the System Expansion Fund (SEF) rate for the first time in seven years.

Aging infrastructure, including 75-year-old terracotta ceramic pipes, is largely to blame. The district recently had to fix two leaks in Redway that were losing an estimated 20,000 gallons of water per day between them. One of the leaks, near the Baptist Church, still requires further investigation.

In other news, the Redway Community Services District has been working with the Redway Fire Protection District to test and document water flow in roughly 50 fire hydrants. Approximately 20 had been tested by the time the district met last Wednesday, but two of the fire hydrants were found to be non-operational. So far, that accounts for roughly 10 percent of the hydrants tested.

The non-operational status of these fire hydrants was discovered through testing, rather than failure during an emergency, but it raises questions about how many of Redway's other fire hydrants can be relied upon in the event of a fire. Repair parts are on the way for the broken hydrants, which have already been identified, and plans to test the rest of the district's fire hydrants should help locate the others.

The RCSD's new actuators, which control the butterfly valves that open and close water lines at the treatment facility, are now fully installed and operational. The new hardware is still covered under warranty, but operations manager Ken Dean feels the equipment is well built and will be easy to service over the coming years.

"The new actuators are pretty much bulletproof. It's really enjoyable to be able to operate the system, and not have to worry about something going bump in the night," Dean said.

The new actuators came at a cost of roughly $89,000, which was paid for as part of the district's capital improvement. The next meeting of the RCSD board will take place Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. A possible rate-increase can be expected on the agenda, as well as the ongoing search for an additional board member after the resignation of John Rogers late last year.