Dos Palos City Council votes to replace water filtration system


About 40 people filled the council chambers, wanting to know what the problem is with the city's water, and what the plan is moving forward.

The city's water woes started September 7th. Since then, the city has had to shut off the water to residents a handful of times. It's also asked them to conserve water by not watering lawns or washing cars. The state health department has also advised people to boil their water for at least a minute before drinking or cooking with it.

"All the things (I heard) were through the grave vine," Dos Palos resident Chris Lorentzen said. "I kept hearing stories; I wanted to hear the facts."

City Manager Darrell Fonseca told residents the problem is the city's water filtration system. It has been having a hard time filtering the water it gets from the California Aqueduct system.

"The water we're receiving has a higher concentration of organics, green matter, and agree algae," Fonseca said. He says the high concentrations of algae are due to droughts and the low water levels in rivers and reservoirs around the state.

Fonseca says the algae, moss and organisms are clogging up the siphon which is about 17 miles from the city limits.

"Every three days it gets clogged," Fonseca said. "It's causing us some pressure problems and water quality."

Fonseca says replacing the water filtration system should help the problem. Replacing the system will be a two-step process.

The first step is to create a temporary filtration system or a 'bypass system'.

"You can't dismantle a system while you're using it," Fonseca said, "You need to have a system in place to be able to sue it and provide water during the time you're working on the other one."

The city council agreed to enter into a contract with a company called Rain for Rent. The company will install a bypass system at an estimated cost of $45,776.50. City leaders expect the crew to begin work on the bypass system on Friday and finish by Monday.

Once the bypass system is complete, Fonseca says another crew can begin replacing the filter. The city council voted to enter into a contract with ERS Industrial services to remove and dispose the old filter and install a new filtration system. That is estimated to cost $124,960.

Fonseca hopes to have the filter replacement process to begin Monday. He says the work should wrap up in 2 to 3 days.

"Hopefully by next week everything will be up and running if everything falls in place with the plan operations," he said.

Fonseca also said a dive team will inspect the California Aqueduct Siphon Screen on Friday. That was coordinated with state leaders and the URS Corporation at a cost of $9,810.

City leaders praised the continuous work city crews have put in to keep the water system operational the past few days. They are also thanking residence for their patience…They ask them to continue boiling their water, conserving when possible and preparing for occasional outages.

Dos Palos resident Deanna Harter says she was hoped things would return to normal sooner rather than later."

"That's just a little nerve wrecking, especially when you have kids," She said, "The boiling of the water and the having to get the water is just really a hassle."

The city had plans to replace the filtration system in December, thinking it could wait. The current problem is forcing city leaders to act. They are asking the state of funds to help pay for the cost, but Fonseca says the filters will be replaced whether or not the state decides to help.

Many residents say the water outages catch them off guard. City leaders suggested people sign up for the city's alert system which will give them notification.

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