News About the North Bay Water Reuse Authority

Crucial vote looms for recycled water pipeline


By Peter Jensen, Napa Valley Register, 10/29/13

A planned recycled water pipeline to the Coombsville area remains on track to break ground on construction in 2014, as Napa County officials say they believe they have the money needed for the project.

The 5-mile pipeline has been under discussion and planning for more than a decade, but a crucial test is looming next month — the Napa Sanitation District’s board of directors will vote Nov. 6 on whether to put the project out to bid, said Napa County Public Works Director Steve Lederer.

If that happens, the project would be out to bid for a month before a successful bid could be chosen.

If the bid comes back within the project’s cost estimates, construction could begin in April or May. Construction would finish in 2015, Lederer said.

“We’re optimistic, but at the end of the day it really comes down to how the bids come in,” Lederer said.

The project has two size options currently — a 1,000 acre-foot pipeline and a 2,000 acre-foot pipeline. The larger pipeline is estimated to cost $16.3 million, while the smaller pipeline is estimated to cost $14.3 million.

The federal government has agreed to pay up to 25 percent of the pipeline’s cost regardless of its size, but those savings haven’t been included in the estimates.

The Napa Sanitation District and Napa County are constructing the project with a mix of local and federal money. Property owners using the pipeline’s recycled water will provide the majority of its funding via property tax assessments.

The county formed a community facilities district that allows residential customers, irrigators and large water users to join and help pay off the pipeline’s cost over a 20-year period.

The cost to a residential customer with less than an acre of vineyard is $2,000 annually over that 20-year period, but larger users are charged based on their usage.

Lederer said the county has received enough funding and people interested in hooking up to the pipeline to put it within the cost estimates.

“We have enough funding to get at least in the ball park of what we estimate the pipeline will cost,” Lederer said.

Based on the bid results, the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to decide Dec. 17 on whether to build the larger pipeline, the smaller pipeline, or to scrap the project altogether.

If the board decides to move forward and a bid is awarded, Lederer said the county will design the pipeline’s pump station, which will be located on the Napa State Hospital grounds, and then move to start construction on the pipeline itself.

Once completed, the pipeline would run from the Napa Sanitation District, through the Napa State Hospital grounds and east along Imola Avenue, and then turn north through the Coombsville area to the Napa Valley Country Club.

The recycled water is intended to relieve stress on groundwater supplies in the area, which is drained by Milliken, Sarco and Tulocay creeks. Irrigators and large water users could hook up to the pipeline rather than continue to pump groundwater.