County Completes Cayucos Water Tank Upgrade

Supervisor Gibson cutting ribbon

Written by Estero Bay News

August 27, 2021

The San Luis Obispo County Department of Public Works celebrated the commissioning of two new 210,000-gallon water storage tanks located west of Hacienda Drive, in Cayucos, on time and below estimated cost.

The County Public Works Department recently cut the ribbon to celebrate the completion of a major upgrade to the drinking water system for South Cayucos.

County officials were on hand to mark the completion of the $2.2 million project that saw two, 210,000 gallon storage tanks built at the tank farm above Hacienda Drive, replacing one old tank that didn’t adequately supply the County Services Area 10A water customers with sufficient fire fighting capabilities.

Dist. 2 County Supervisor Bruce Gibson was delighted with the service upgrade. “I’m so impressed by the way the community came together and supported this project, Gibson said. “Folks clearly saw the value of investing in this important water storage facility — and it pays off with improved resiliency and fire protection.”

CSA 10A funded the project using a U.S. Department of Agriculture rural assistance low interest loan, available to communities with populations of 10,000 or less. The Cayucos Sanitary District also tapped USDA to finance it’s $25 million sewer treatment plant, recently completed on Toro Creek Road. John Madonna Const., of SLO was the contractor on the job.

The two new tanks replaced a single, 60-year-old deteriorated tank, the County said, and, “will provide system redundancy to facilitate operations and maintenance, and to meet the California Fire Code for fire flow storage.”

The CSA 10A area had been woefully unprepared for a major fire, with regards to available water supply. During construction, other storage tanks located at the water treatment plant by the Cayucos-Morro Bay Cemetery, were available in case of emergency, which thankfully wasn’t necessary.

CSA 10A provides drinking water and charges to fire hydrants using water from Whale Rock Reservoir, as do the other water purveyors in town. All the lake water is fully treated at the reverse osmosis treatment plant below the Whale Rock dam that was built back in the 1990s, in order to comply with drinking water standards for surface waters — water diverted from rivers, streams, creeks, and lakes and reservoirs. Though no human contact is allowed at Whale Rock, it is subject to potential contamination from the surrounding hills, most of which are used for cattle crazing.

In addition to redundancy and fire flow, the County said the new tanks “provide emergency water storage for three days.” The average daily water use for CSA 10A is about 110,000 gallons, according to the County. But the usage spikes on the 4th of July, when Cayucos is packed with visitors, to about 325,000 gallons a day. On an annual basis, the CSA 10A uses 132-acre feet of water or about 43 million gallons a year.

In the photograph avove, Supervisor Gibson, center with big scissors, gets ready to cut the ribbon and celebrate the water tank project. Submitted photo

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