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State OES will help CCWD with fire costs

By SUNNY LOCKWOOD

The California Office of Emergency Services will reimburse some of the expenses Calaveras County Water District incurred during last fall's Darby Fire.

During the CCWD board meeting Wednesday, district Finance Director Julie McManus said OES has funded three of the district's four applications for reimbursement and will be sending CCWD a check for $41,696.

Because the Darby Fire destroyed flumes and canals on the Utica Power Authority system that supplies water to Angels Camp, Murphys and other communities, Gov. Gray Davis declared a state of emergency in Calaveras County.

That declaration made it possible for local governments and water agencies to recoup up to 75 percent of their emergency expenses in trying to keep water flowing to those on the damaged system.

During the first few days and weeks following the fire, several emergency efforts were launched including CCWD's Forest Meadows Hydrant Project, Calaveras Cement Slurry Line Project and the Adit 4 (tunnel tap) drilling project to restore water flow to homes and businesses.

The drilling project was the most controversial and costly, since it was initiated without direction or approval from appropriate water agency boards, and was abandoned in favor of an overland pipe and pump system, which has kept water flowing since October.

McManus told the board Wednesday that OES has agreed to reimburse 75 percent of the costs associated with the Forest Meadows Hydrant and Calaveras Cement Slurry Line projects. OES also is funding repairs to CCWD's water system that was damaged during firefighting efforts, she said.

As to the Adit 4 drilling project, McManus said she is getting mixed signals from OES.

"They tell me they don't have a final answer on this one way or another," she said.

In October, CCWD estimated its costs for the Forest Meadows, Cement Slurry Line and Adit 4 drilling project to total more than $320,000.


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