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The Main Renewal and Seismic Upgrade Program is part of the Alameda County Water District’s (District) commitment to delivering reliable drinking water supplies to more than 356,000 people living and working in Fremont, Newark and Union City. The Main Renewal and Seismic Upgrade Program will help improve water supply reliability for ACWD customers in the event of a major earthquake and will reduce service interruptions due to aging pipelines. Generally, pipelines have a lifespan of about 75 years, but the risk of a pipeline’s failure increases in proportion with its age. With twenty percent of the District’s pipelines installed before 1960, and the oldest pipelines placed underground in the 1940s, this project represents a major infrastructure improvement for more than 84,000 customers who depend upon reliable water supplies. Proactive pipeline upgrades protect the District and its customers from expensive fixes caused by leaks in the system.
The District is prioritizing construction sites in order of risk and project complexity within the overall program budget. Generally, pipelines that have the highest risk of failure in the event of a major earthquake will be prioritized and undergo construction first, as supplemented by smaller, generally less complex projects to meet program budgetary goals. An up-to-date construction schedule can be found online at www.acwd.org/MRSUP.
All of ACWD’s construction activities must comply with specific permit requirements and must take into account weather conditions and safety precautions. The staggered nature of the construction helps the District maintain reasonable working hours and reduce inconveniences to the public associated with very early and very late construction working hours.
The residents and businesses of Fremont, Newark, and Union City who, as ratepayers, contribute to these projects. We want to ensure our customers are aware of how their rate dollars are being used to improve water supply reliability and protect public health and safety.The costs for these projects are being funded in two ways:• Project costs have been factored into existing rate structures.• In 2012 ACWD successfully issued $45.2 million in Water Revenue Bonds to restructure existing debt at reduced interest rates and to help finance critical capital projects. By doing so, we are able to make investments in infrastructure while leveraging the District’s excellent AAA bond rating and take advantage of historic low interest rates.
The District is requiring its contractors to ensure that construction traffic is managed effectively and that truck traffic follows posted speed limits. We will have inspectors evaluating the project sites to ensure that rules are enforced and will address any issues that arise.
The District will ensure its contractors take precautions to ensure safety during construction, including installing barriers along construction routes, restricting travel speeds and implementing construction safety monitoring during all work. The District will provide project oversight and review during every stage of construction to ensure safety and design requirements are met, including the avoidance of gas lines and other pipelines. In the event of an emergency, the District will implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety of surrounding residents, businesses and construction crews.
The District is committed to monitoring and ensuring water quality standards at all times. During construction, water pipelines may need to be temporarily isolated to accommodate improvements. This action may cause reverse flows in the pipeline, causing iron and manganese sediment lying on the bottom of the pipeline to be stirred up, resulting in discolored water. However, water will remain safe to drink and continue to meet all state and federal drinking water standards for public health and safety. If your drinking water becomes discolored, avoid using your washing machine and dishwasher until the water clears. Please visit ACWD’s website at www.acwd.org to learn how to flush the pipes in your home to remove the discoloration.