By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
Like proud parents counting fingers and toes on a newborn, Angels Camp officials visited the city's water treatment plant yesterday afternoon before gathering for the City Council meeting.
They speculated on ways to use the old 1.3 million-gallon clearwell that now stands like a giant, empty swimming pool. They checked out the plant's newest water filter, and its new computer monitors that measure everything from turbidity, temperature and flow to chlorine levels, pH balance and other aspects of plant operation.
City officials pronounced the plant a success, saying it has been functioning well and was completed under budget.
City Administrator Tim Shearer told council members that the new plant can produce 2 million gallons a day of drinking water.
"On peak days in July and August, we use more than that," he said. "The new 2.5 million clearwell gives us some breathing room, because we can draw down from the (storage) tank on those peak days."
He said City Engineer Gary Ghio estimates that the plant will need a fourth filter by 2012 in order to increase the output to 3 million gallons a day.
Ghio said the average Angels Camp household uses about 154 gallons a day until summertime, then the use can go as high as 1,000 gallons a day.
At the Angels Camp City Council meeting after the tour, council members voted unanimously to accept work on the 2001 water treatment plant improvement project.
Ghio told the council that despite changes in the construction plans, the new plant, on the same site as the old plant, cost $1.7 million dollars and came in $21,000 under budget.
"It's a good system," Councilman Paul Raggio said. "If the taxpayers could see it, they'd be pleased with what they're getting for their money."