Volunteers Answered the Call – Thank you!

Thanks to our intrepid volunteers, including locals, Nevadans, CalFire and Ca Conservation Corp members, we had a successful three (3) days of restoration.

Some of the team doing a bit of seeding. The Musser & Jarvis Creek can be seen just behind them.

Each of the three (3) days brought us approximately 30 volunteers, who focused on seeding the slopes, and chinking trees, in the watershed, in order to lessen the effects of erosion and mitigate debris flowing into the creek. Editors note: The image at the top of this post is only of one crew, this particular troup was on site last Sunday.

Chinking? You ask…I (Mark) had not heard the term before last Sunday but based on what I can tell it is derived from log cabin building and the filling in of the spaces between the logs with a mortar of some sort.

As it relates to erosion mitigation it’s about filling in the upslope side of a felled tree (felled parallel to the creek) with rocks and dirt in order to capture sediment and re-direct water flow.

A video of the operation, including a look at some chinking.

A special shout out to the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and its Tamarack Fire Assistance Fund. It was that fund that allowed us to purchase the wattles and the seed.

Andy Lovell, and the Alpine Trails Association, helped out with tools expertise.

Mary Young, our President, and the First Gentleman, Bill Young, also deserve a shout out. They spent countless hours doing reconnaissance on the watershed, developing the plan and most importantly “herding the cats” to get the work done.

We should also mention Kimra and Sierra, from the Alpine Watershed Group. Their expertise and direction was such a plus!

The BIGGEST shout out, however, goes to you, dear volunteer. We wish we could name you all but the post would be too long if we did.

WE ARE SO THANKFUL! The Water Co., and the community as a whole, is lucky to have you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Musser & Jarvis Watershed Restoration Weekend – Volunteers Needed!

This weekend we’ll be laying wattles, and seeding the area, around the Musser & Jarvis watershed (which supplies Markleeville’s water) to help restore burn areas from the Tamarack Fire.

If you’re a MWC Member this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the watershed that serves your water needs and more importantly, it’s a chance for you to contribute to the ongoing health of your watershed.

Please note the various requirements on the flyer above (masks to carpool, PPE required, 18+ only, etc.)

We hope to see you this weekend!

Hazard Trees to Be Removed From Around the Pleasant Valley Tank

At Markleeville Water Company’s request the Forest Service is removing eight (8) burned trees from around the Pleasant Valley water tank.  If these trees were allowed to remain there is a danger of the trees falling on the tank.  This would put the tank out of service and we estimate it would be well over a year before it could be placed back in service. 

This water tank provides all of Marklee Village and Thornburg subdivisions with drinking water and fire protection. Living without this tank is not an option for us.  These trees truly are a hazard to our water supply and without a water supply we cannot inhabit our homes.

Please do not complain to, or harass the crews doing the tree removal. They are protecting your water supply.

For more information, please email us at markleevillewatercompany@gmail.com.

Emergency Repairs on Transmission Line Tonight!

Posted at approx. 7:20 p.m.

Unfortunately, there’s been a break in our 6″ transmission line. This break occurred at/on the Robinson property when a contractor hit the line.

We will be turning off water at the plant about 7:30 p.m. for approxmately 3 hours.

Members along Hot Springs Road, including all of town, could be affected! Marklee Village, however, should not see an impact as that tank is full.

Please be patient, and don’t head to the repair area, as you may get in the way.

If all goes well we’ll have the water back on in the next 3-4 hours. We’ll post another update later tonight or tomorrow morning.

The Leak on Hot Springs Road is no Longer!

As some of you may already know, the leak has been stopped! It’s actually been about 10 days since the work was done and and as you’ll see if you’re in town we still have a couple markers out on the road. By the way, this was the 7th repair we’ve made in the last year or so. Ouch!

Kudos to our intrepid crew for keeping things flowing.

This “sleeve” was installed in order to seal the leak. We then left the hole open for short period of time to ensure there was no more water coming from the pipe. It was then filled with “fill.” Go figure!

We’ll give it awhile for the traffic, and nature, to tamp things down a bit and then later this summer the pavement will be repaired.

On a related note, we’ve signed the planning grant agreement and are cautiously optimistic that we’ll soon be able to move forward with the planning phase of our “replacement project.” See some of our previous posts for more info. on that if you’re so inclined.

So, given time, repairs of this type will no longer be needed as our aging infrastructure will also be NO LONGER.

In the meantime, a note of thanks to all of you for doing your part and being water responsible!

Leak on our Main Line on Hot Springs Road

Unfortunately, another leak has sprung up, this time on Hot Springs Road, near the Dean/Hittenmiller place. We’ve scheduled it for repair so please be on the lookout for our crew in the coming days.

Water leaking out onto Hot Springs Road, from our main line underneath.

We’ll post another update once the work has been completed.

Markleeville Water Company’s Rising Cost of Repairs

As you know, our water rates have risen substantially over the last two years.  We wanted to take a moment and explain why. There are numerous reasons for these rate increases including the necessity to adhere to state treatment, testing, and water quality standards; legal fees, survey fees, supply costs, and more costly pipe line repairs. The Directors expect some of these costs to remain fairly stable (e.g. supplies and labor for daily operations), and while legal fees may increase modestly, survey fees should decrease. The most significant increase is expected in pipe line repair costs. The increase in this unavoidable expense is largely for two reasons: 

  1. The increasing need to hire outside contractors for repairs
  2. The increased frequency of main line leaks.

Historically, the labor for MWC’s pipeline and system repairs has been accomplished using volunteers, usually company directors, in combination with a minimal amount of paid labor. Fritz Thornburg has provided excavation work and provides his expertise, backhoe and operator time at a much-reduced rate. We’re certainly lucky to have him.

This arrangement is gradually changing, however. As directors and community volunteers age, repairs will increasingly need to be made by outside contractors. With this change, members will at some point in the near future no longer benefit from the savings that this mostly FREE labor has provided. The increased repair costs may be substantial and will add to water rates. 

An illustrative example of the affect of increased repair costs would be the repair made recently to the mainline on Pleasant Valley Road. In order to access the damaged pipe, an excavation 14′ deep 12′ long and 8′ wide was required in addition to side bank shoring and the continual pumping of 14,600 gallons of water from the hole per day. Volunteers provided 100+ labor-hours and Fritz provided 70 hours of backhoe time. 

How does it breakdown?

This comparison illustrates an expected repair cost increase of 300%!  We all need to keep in mind too that this was only one leak and although it was a major repair, we typically have multiple leaks annually. 

Another thing we ask you to consider is that the volunteers, directors and officers of MWC are also members and subject to these same rate increases in addition to the cost of lost income from their regular work schedules.

By giving us almost 40 hours of his time/labor at no charge Fritz voluntarily gave up $3336.25 while saving each residential user approximately $1.48/mo or $17.75/yr. Likewise, other volunteers provided 100 hours of free labor, foregoing $3000 in addition to lost wages ($ they could have made on their regular jobs), and saving each residential user $1.32/mo or $15.96/yr; a total savings to members of $2.81/mo or $33.71/yr .

What’s all of this mean? 

Well, first and foremost, it means we have some awesome members who have done, and continue to do, so much for us all. We owe them all a debt of gratitude, especially Fritz Thornburg. THANK YOU!

Second, the MWC will continue to operate and maintain your water system so that sweet, quality water keeps on coming through all of our taps. 

The time is fast approaching, however when the membership will likely need to pay the non-volunteer (i.e contractor or market) rates for repairs.

Why won’t the grant(s) take care of this?

While things have been moving much slower than we anticipated, we are still on track to get our planning grant, which is a pre-requisite to our construction grant. With these grants we will be able to replace our aging water infrastructure and our hope is to do so within the same time frame that the work on Hot Springs Road is done. That is several years away, though, and so we’ll need to keep things running until then. Once our new pipes are in, we should see substantial savings in terms of repair costs BUT whatever repair costs we do incur will be at the standard, market rate.

We hope this explains the how’s, what’s and why’s and we encourage your feedback! 

You can reply to this blog post, email us at markleevillewatercompany@gmail.com or attend one of our Board meetings, which are the 3rdSaturdays of the month.

Note: If you’d like to attend a board meeting, please RSVP via email.

Thank you in advance for your input, understanding and support. We look forward to hearing from you!

Steve Martin
President, MWC

Progress Being Made on Pleasant Valley Road Leak! Almost Done!

We’re pleased to be able to report that we have removed and replaced the damaged section of mainline on Pleasant Valley Rd.!

Here are some details of what occurred over the last several days as well as some guidance moving forward:

Fritz Thornburg and Steve Martin began the project Tuesday 10-23-18. The mainline was approximately 13′ deep in saturated ground and difficult to locate.

During the repair, a section of Pleasant Valley Rd. between Pinion St. and Timber Lane, as well as Ox Bow, were without water for several hours over a two-day period.

Please note that work will continue as pipe restraints, tracer wire and backfilling are completed. Please drive with caution near the work site. We do not, however, anticipate any further interruption in service and again, we’d like to apologize for any inconvenience and thank all of you who were affected for your patience.

Important!

If you live in the Markleevillage subdivision, you may experience air surges through your faucets over the next couple of days as air is purged from the water system piping. This is normal but can be a bit startling. In addition, some users may have minor to excessive silt in their water. This occurs due to changing flow patterns within the piping system and will subside quickly. If you experience silty water it is recommended that you first turn on exterior faucets until clear water is noted and then turn on interior faucets to help flush and remove sediment from your piping. We have had one report of silty water near the repair site but don’t expect to have system-wide occurrences.

Although we don’t expect any contamination, we have tested, and will continue to test the water through the middle of next week. This testing is in addition to our regular monthly testing. Check back here next week for updated information on those test results. Rest assured, we will notify members should there actually be a health concern.

Finally, we wish to give a couple shout outs — to Fritz Thornburg and Kris Hartnett! Fritz provided his excavating equipment and years of water system expertise to aid with this repair. Kris coordinated supply deliveries and onsite assistance in addition to his other duties. Thank you gentlemen. You guys are awesome!

If you have questions, comments or concerns, please do email us.

For urgent concerns, please call Steve Martin at 530-694-2360 or Kris Harnett at 530-694-1879.

Update on the Water Leak on Pleasant Valley Road

Good morning members! We’re pleased to inform you that the leak has been temporarily repaired. Kris Hartnett and team checked in last night just after 6 p.m. to say that temporary repairs were made.

However…Yes, there is a however — We will be back at it next week.

Monday, October 29th through Wednesday, October 31st, the crew will be back on site in order to make permanent repairs. Please expect interruptions in service as we make those repairs.

If you happen to see water leaking in the area of the repair in the meantime, there is no need to report it as we are aware and monitoring the situation.

Again, we apologize for any inconvenience and we thank you for your patience.