Catalina Island News

City of Avalon details Sewer Improvement Program

City of Avalon

The City of Avalon has recently embarked on a $5 million plus set of projects to renovate and repair the sewer collection system and the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP).

These projects consist of:

  1. Taking a video inventory of the City's 11 miles of sewer mains.
  2. Hiring a professional engineering firm to determine which mains need to be:
    a. Cleaned
    b. Rehabilitated
    c. Completely replaced
    d. Which manholes need to be rebuilt
  3. Renovating or replacing the pumps at the Catherine and Pebbly Beach Lift Stations.
  4. Renovating or replacing major components at the WWTP.
  5. Installing new monitoring systems at the Lift Stations & WWTP to enable early warnings of system failures.
  6. Creating a Geographic Information System (GIS) to map lines, preserve system video and map progress.
  7. Purchasing equipment to maintain the system and to be prepared for emergencies:
    a. A 'Jetter' - a kind of industrial strength power washer which is used to clean out collection lines, freeing them of debris which can cause blockages.- $44,000.
    b. An emergency pump and generator which can by-pass either of the two Lift Stations in the event of catastrophic failure at the pump station. $65,000.
  8. Hiring two professional firms to manage the work:

    Environ Strategies (ES) of Irvine, Ca. was hired to replace United Water to manage and maintain the sewer collection system, the WWTP, and the salt water system. ES has many years of association with the Island serving in several capacities and studies regarding the salt water system, the landfill and the WWTP.

    RBF Inc of San Diego to develop a master plan to determine the state of the sewer collection system and make recommendations on needed repairs. RBF is recognized as a leader in this field and has advised many cities large and small. RBF is also managing all aspects of the sewer rehabilitation and renovation program.

Financing for these projects comes from two sources:

The Sewer System Capital Improvement Fund - paid for by your annual sewer fees.

Bond proceeds from the Avalon Community Improvement Agency (ACIA). Most of the $5million comes from this source. The good news here is that the City was fortunate to be able to commit these funds (virtually all that was left) before the State of California halted all such expenditures. The bad news is that once spent all future improvements to the system will have to come from sewer property taxes and that suggests future rate increases.

What work has been completed?

  • The 'clarifier' at the WWTP has been replaced - $228,000.
  • Pumps have been rebuilt at both lift stations - $35,000.
  • The 11 mile sewer collection system has been videotaped and analyzed - $65,000.
  • A GIS system was developed to map the sewer system and indicate issues and repairs $15,000.
  • A master plan of cleaning, rehabilitation or replacement was developed - $48,000.
  • Various improvements at the WWTP such as re-roofing the building, replacing lab equipment, etc - $16,000.
  • Two projects, to rehabilitate or replace portions of the collection system have been bid out and awarded for a total of $4,700,000. In addition, all recommended system cleaning was done over the summer as part of this contract.

What is going to happen next?

A new centrifuge will be installed at the WWTP. The centrifuge is a device near the end of the treatment process that separates the sludge from treated water. Our centrifuge is of undetermined age, is in bad condition and is no longer supported by the manufacturer. It is estimated that a new centrifuge will cost $200,000.

A SCADA system is being designed. The SCADA system provides electronic monitoring of pumps, motors, levels, etc and provides real time monitoring of these systems over the Internet - $210,000.

Sancon, Inc. has been awarded the Sewer Main Rehabilitation Contract. This work will primarily consist of slip lining portions of the collection system. Slip lining is a process of injecting a resin like substance into the collection system to seal minor cracks and misalignments. Streets affected by this are:

  • Most of Middle Terrace
  • A line from Middle to Lower Terrace
  • Crescent Ave by the Via Casino Arch
  • The middle portion of the valley between Whittley and Marilla
  • A portion of Country Club Road by the Country Club
  • A portion of Avalon Canyon Road adjacent to the Fire Station

Colich and Sons has been awarded the Sewer Main Reconstruction Project. This work will involve opening the street, removing and replacing the sewer mains and installing new clean outs and sewer laterals in the public right of way. Streets affected by this are:

  • Upper Metropole – above Beacon
  • Most of Whittley Avenue
  • Marilla Avenue
  • West side of Hiawatha
  • Most of Vieudelou, beginning at Marilla Avenue
  • A portion of Upper Crescent between Maiden Lane and Upper Olive

When will the rehabilitation and reconstruction start?

The rehabilitation and reconstruction projects are synchronized because there are some locations where both contractors have work to do. Some ‘spot’ reconstruction will take place in late November or early December. The main slip lining work will begin in late January and will run through the end of February. The reconstruction work will begin after that and run through the spring. All work will be completed before next year's visitor season.

How will neighborhoods be affected?

On construction days fresh and salt water will be turned off on the streets where the work is taking place so that waste cannot enter the system. It will be turned back on at the end of the day. Parking will be prohibited on the same streets generally between 8 am and 6 pm. The work will be done in segments so only one street or portion of a street will be impacted on any one day. All residents will be notified in advance so that vehicle access and water usage plans can be made. We will have a story in the paper each week about progress made and what streets will be impacted in the next two weeks.

Will these actions solve all the problems in the Bay?

Not totally. Although all these improvements will result in a rehabilitated and well functioning sewer collection system, there will continue to be remnants of prior years of leakage in the top soil, which eventually finds its way down to the lowest level of our valley, at the bay. The City is continuing to explore methods to mitigate and disinfect those remnants.