Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced Friday Oct. 25 that it has expanded its projected Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) event to include all of Calaveras County Water District’s water and wastewater facilities throughout the County. This presents an even greater challenge for CCWD staff, as past events were not as widespread. PG&E said power is likely to be shut off between 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday Oct. 26, and the outage could last through Monday Oct. 28. CCWD asks all customers to conserve water during the power outage. For tips on how to conserve water, go to www.ccwd.org/psps.
While CCWD has backup generators for key infrastructure facilities, indoor and outdoor water conservation will help lessen the load on these generators during power outages, as well as reducing the negative impacts of possible generator failures, such as loss of water treatment capacity or sewage spills. CCWD urges customers to avoid any unnecessary uses of water, including watering lawns and outdoor landscaping, washing vehicles, filling swimming pools, washing off hardscapes, flushing toilets after every use, washing clothes, running the dishwasher and taking baths or long showers.
All county residents should also be aware that small electric septic tank pumps will not function during power outages (unless a home backup generator is hooked up) and privately owned septic tanks could overflow. Additionally, some homes connected to a public sewer system also use septic tank pump systems or grinder pump systems, which require power to function. When the power is out, it is very important to conserve water that will enter septic tanks, including water used in sinks, toilets, showers, washers, etc. In particular, sewage grinder pump tanks have very little storage and could overflow with very little water usage. Residents in that situation would have to stop the flow of water immediately to avoid a sewage spill.
Some of CCWD’s sewer customers utilize septic tanks that are owned and maintained by CCWD. To avoid sewage spills, the District is asking its sewer customers who live in Mill Woods, West Point, Southworth, Vallecito, Indian Rock Vineyards and Six Mile Village to only use water for critical health and safety needs.
CCWD urges all county residents to be prepared for PG&E’s upcoming planned power shutdown by visiting www.prepareforpowerdown.com. For more information from PG&E on this PSPS event, go to www.pge.com or call 800-743-5002.