Due to the devastating impacts of the Butte Fire, millions in grant money may soon be awarded to the Calaveras County Water District to fund critical improvements to a water treatment plant that serves more than 10,000 people in the Rancho Calaveras area. At a special meeting Thursday, the CCWD Board of Directors unanimously approved an additional $889,500 in local matching funds for a total of $939,500, which is required to secure the grant. The project’s total cost is expected to be more than $3.7 million, and the District is optimistic that FEMA will provide around $2.8 million in grant funds. The pretreatment facility project has been added to the District’s Capital Renovation and Replacement (Capital R&R) project list, which is used to address infrastructure needs throughout the District.

If the FEMA grant funds are awarded, they will be used to construct pretreatment facilities at the District’s Jenny Lind Water Treatment Plant, which draws water from the Calaveras River directly downstream from New Hogan dam. Once these facilities are installed, they will remove heavy metals, debris and sediment from raw water entering the plant. Without the pretreatment facilities, the existing plant is likely to be overwhelmed by the high levels of mud, ash and organics that are eroding from the 52,000 acres of the Calaveras River watershed that were scorched by the Butte Fire.

Approving the matching dollars was the last step in the process needed for CCWD to complete its grant application and fulfill its local funding obligation. The District is now waiting for FEMA to finalize the grant award. If the grant is awarded, CCWD will move forward with the project as soon as possible.

Written by Joel Metzger