As reported in the February 2013 edition of On Tap, California Water Service Company (Cal Water) responded quickly to the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) request to assist West Goshen residents, whose system was no longer providing them with quality drinking water. At the time, Cal Water sent company teams to assist in bringing clean water to West Goshen by flushing the distribution system, adjusting pump pressures and fixing electrical issues.

Taking into consideration permanent solutions to the water problem, Cal Water partnered with the CDPH and Self-Help Enterprises (Self-Help) to secure the town’s water supply. Self-Help, a Visalia nonprofit group that assists small communities, arranged meetings with public officials and Cal Water and sought government grants. Now, West Goshen residents have a more reliable supply of safe tap water.

“We are excited that West Goshen residents now have a permanent supply of high-quality water on which they can rely,” said Cal Water District Manager Scott Bailey. “From the beginning, CDPH, Self-Help Enterprises, West Goshen Mutual and Cal Water have all been focused on doing the right thing and helping our neighbors, and that commitment is what made this outcome possible.”

When the CDPH approached Cal Water and Self-Help to assist with an emergency disinfection plan, they developed a temporary plan to repair and maintain West Goshen’s water system. With grants totaling $3.25 million from CDPH and $150,000 from the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB), a permanent solution was initiated to connect the town’s system to Cal Water’s Visalia water system. Because of CDPH’s and RWQCB’s funding, Cal Water’s current Visalia District customers will not incur any costs associated with adding West Goshen to their system.

The project consisted of two phases. The first phase included installing 8,645 feet of 12-inch ductile iron water main from Cal Water’s existing service area to West Goshen and serving the community via a master-metered connection overseen by the West Goshen Mutual Water Company (WGMWC). Eight new fire hydrants also were installed to improve fire protection. Cal Water is now planning the final phase, which is anticipated to take approximately six months and will include connecting individual customer services and replacing aging water mains.

The West Goshen pipeline extension project serves as a model for other small communities faced with contaminated drinking water. According to Jessi Snyder, Self-Help Community Development Specialist, in a recent Fresno Bee article, “If you can combine a smaller system with a larger one, that’s great. It really is a long-term permanent solution.”

President Lucy Hernandez of the WGMWC summed it up nicely in the article, “This is like a blessing for our community.”

(Photo: March 18 Groundbreaking Ceremony to Commemorate the Water Mainline Extension Phase of the Project)

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