Amador County Service Area #3
The Amador County Grand Jury Audit & Finance
Committee investigated Public Works' management
of County Service Area 3 (CSA #3), located at
Lake Camanche Village. The Grand Jury
interviewed various property owners in CSA #3,
Public Works maintenance employees, water system
operators, Building Department inspector, Roads
Supervisor, and the Director of Public Works
Department. Audits were made of expenditures,
budget, training records, contracts, and
consultant's reports for CSA #3. Members of the
jury toured the maintenance building, treatment
plant, wastewater facility and homes being
served in CSA #3.
The investigation by the Grand Jury was
initiated by a complaint of a Lake Camanche
Village resident. The complaint alleges
management of CSA #3 water and sewer district
misused property owners' funds in the design,
building, and function of the water treatment
plant at well 12, and an intertie between wells
6 and 9. The total cost for these facilities
was $1.3 million dollars. This project was
funded through an initial assessment to property
owners in Units 1, 3A, and 6 of $1,300 per lot.
Water rates were significantly increased with
the building of the treatment plant and
CSA #3 consists of units 1, 3A and 6 of Lake
Camanche Development. Within CSA #3, there are
1,050 lots. Within the service area, a total of
473 water meters have been issued and 577 water
meters are available. Unit 1 is supplied by
wells 8, 9, and 10. Wells 8 and 10 are
currently not in service. Unit 3A is serviced
by well 9, and unit 6 is serviced by wells 6 and
12A. Previously, unit 6 was serviced by well
12. Water is stored in covered
redwood tanks at each well location. Unit 6 is
the only area with wastewater service. There
are four lift stations to the wastewater
treatment plant and pond.
The water and sewer system is maintained by one
full-time maintenance employee. Two (2)
maintenance personnel from other County service
areas are utilized on an as-needed basis. These
employees report daily to the County Road
When the water treatment plant was in operation,
the fulltime maintenance employee was required
to spend at least four (4) hours a day in the
treatment plant. At that time, outside
contracts with the Water Agency for meter
readings and Amador Mechanical (a private
contractor) for repairs to lines were necessary.
When production in well 12 diminished, the well
was redrilled to a deeper depth. This new depth
went through iron and manganese bearing strata,
which contaminated the water. Because of water
contamination in well 12, the Public Works
Director then made the decision to build a
treatment plant at the site in order to remove
the iron and manganese from the water.
A report by Gilmore Engineering Company stated
that wells 6,
9, and 12 could meet demands for over 20 years.
Public Works is presently proposing alternate
surface water sources costing between $2 million
and $5.5 million.
Because of the diminished supply of water in
well 12, a need for additional water supplies
became apparent. To supplement the supply of
water to unit 6, a 1.5 mile intertie was
designed as a gravity flow system between wells
9 and 6. When the intertie was designed,
were not taken into consideration. As a result,
pumps had to be installed to maintain suitable
pressure to users because the gravity flow
system was inadequate to meet demand.
Within the treatment plant, chlorine tanks are
located across the room from the mixing area.
Chlorine is piped overhead in plastic tubing.
This has now been encased in PVC Schedule 80
pipe, but is still run overhead. When the
treatment plant became operational, the quality
of the water became worse. Outside consultants
were hired to solve the red water problem,
caused by high iron concentrates. Pumps had to
be used to maintain a suitable pressure to
New equipment was installed to stabilize the
amount of chemicals to water flow.
Shortly after modifications to the treatment plant
were made, well 12 collapsed. A new well was
drilled 60 feet from well 12. . The new well (well
12A) was dug to a depth of 335 feet. A 10-inch
casing and 40 horsepower pump were installed.
Well 12A produced 350 gallons per minute of clear
iron free water. The cost for drilling the new
well was approximately $80,000. Included in this
cost were all drilling, site preparation,
equipment, and system tie in.
Treatment Plant and Intertie
No formal studies were made by a geologist or
hydrologist on the advisability of drilling a
new well before decisions were made to expend
$1.3 million dollars for the treatment plant and
- Current well production meets the present
existing homes. Future development will depend on
stability of current wells and the addition of
more water sources.
- Faulty elevation and flow documentation was
the engineering company that did the intertie
- Adequate training was not provided for the
computerized measurement program. Interviews
conducted by the Grand Jury indicate that non-
compatible parts were used in the system, which
created faulty readings.
- Information regarding water needs given to
property owners at association meetings and the
Board of Supervisors was never consistent.
No safety meetings were held with maintenance
personnel within the last three years. After
making inquiries of the Public Works Director,
two safety meetings were held in the beginning
of April 1999.
Full protective clothing has not been
employees handling dangerous chemicals.
- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) were not
available to employees working in a chemical
environment. (This is an OSHA requirement.)
- In the treatment plant, the placement of
chlorine tanks across the room from the
injection point is potentially dangerous. In
the event overhead chemical lines fail, the
operator would be in a hazardous situation.
- Chlorine gas is stored in the wastewater
- Redwood storage tanks have outside ladders;
side rails or interior attached ladders exist
for use during cleaning.
- The entire combined protective clothing
Water and Sewer facilities in CSA#3 is $150.00
The head of the roads division immediately
maintenance personnel for the water and sewer
districts. This supervisor has no training or
certification for water and wastewater
treatment. This supervisor is responsible for
scheduling work in CSA #3. It is not uncommon
for changes in schedule to initiate in the
Public Works office without notifying the
- CSA #3 is billed $22.92 average per hour for
from other areas plus an average of $972 a month
for truck usage when other county employees work
in the area.
- Contracts with The Water Agency and Amador
for meter reading and repairs are still in
- County operating personnel working in CSA #3
trained professionals performing well in adverse
- Facility replacement fund for systems upkeep
was $237,648 and was budgeted for an additional
$34,642 in the 1998-1999 budget.
A moratorium should be imposed on the
issuance of new
water meters until such time as increased
reliable water resources are available.
- A formal survey of the wells and aquifers by
hydrologist is made to determine water
- If proven effective, the drilling of
should be utilized instead of proceeding with
plans for a surface water system.
- The Director of Public Works issue one clear
on water availability and estimated usage to
both the Lake Camanche Village Home Owners
Association and the Board of Supervisors.
- Conduct bi-monthly safety meetings to update
employees on safety procedures and proper equipment
- Increase the current budget to provide adequate
clothing for water and wastewater personnel.
- Provide Material Safety Data Sheets for all
- Provide proper storage, in a separate building,
chlorine gas used at wastewater treatment
- Install outside rails and permanent ladders
water storage tanks.
- To improve communications between field
the Director of Public Works, system operators
responsible to the Director of Public Works
- Hire one additional full time employee for CSA
#3 and provide an additional vehicle to
alleviate the the need for outside contractors
and County personnel from other districts.
- Homeowners in CSA #3 should assume
responsibility to conserve water.
Weatherby Reynolds Consulting Engineers Report
- Gilmore Engineering, Value Engineering Report -
- SPPH Associates Consulting Engineers, Predesign
- December 1994
- Terrance E. Lowell and Associates Engineers
September 6, 1995
- Harold Welborn and Associates Report - December
- Amador County Summary Report - July 18,
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