LOCSD Ready for Bids on New Well

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

March 16, 2022

It’s been in the works for the past 4 years but Los Osos appears ready to dig a new, drinking-water well and start to shore up its limited supplies.

The Community Services District Board was slated on March 3 to approve a bid package for its “Los Osos Basin Plan Program C Well,” a pretty deep drinking water well that will be located near the intersection of South Bay Boulevard and Bay Oaks Drive.

According to the bid package, “The work is comprised of providing all necessary labor, materials, accessories, equipment, and supervision to provide a 700-foot deep, 12” diameter stainless steel potable water supply well inside a 22” diameter borehole as shown on the Project technical specifications. The Work includes drilling of the well, well development and completion, disposal of cuttings, disposal of development water, and all other work to make the potable water well complete and functional as specified.”

The CSD’s consultant, Cleath-Harris Geologists, designed and engineered the project and The Wallace Group, the CSD’s engineering firm, prepared the bid documents. Cleath-Harris’ “probable” cost estimate is $531,000 just to drill the well, and the overall project budget is some $2.1 million.

The drilling budget includes the estimate for the drilling work — $531,000 then add $29,000 in contingencies — for a total estimate of $621,000.

The planning, permitting and environmental review have all been completed and the CSD expects to get a Minor Use Permit from the County on March 4 (post press deadline).

The well portion of this 3-prong project will also need a 400-square foot pump house building, paving, landscaping and more, including a pipeline to connect it to the CSD’s water system.

“This is a very complicated project,” CSD General Manager Ron Munds told Estero Bay News, “so we divided it into three phases, drilling, wellhead design and equipping and pipeline. The pipeline phase will be the most complicated part. The [overall] project will take about 2½ years to complete and will cost over $2.1 million.”

The new well will also need some 3,400-feet of new water line laid under the street. Munds said the pipeline route will go from the well down South Bay Boulevard, cross under Los Osos Valley Road and, about 50 yards past LOVR, it will take a left turn and cross over to Mountain View Drive. There it will run up Mountain View to Nipomo Avenue where it will be tied in with an existing water main.

The town has been under a water supply “Severity Level III” designation since the mid-1990s, due to over drafting of the groundwater aquifer — Los Osos’ sole source of drinking water.

The Level III moniker pretty much prevents any new development in town, indeed it has been used recently by the Coastal Commission to deny even the building of a single new home and complicated the County’s attempts to loosen up rules on secondary dwelling units required by State Housing Laws.

The CSD, Golden State Water, SLO County, and S&T Mutual, the water purveyors in Los Osos, have a court settlement that calls for improvements to the water infrastructure to fight seawater intrusion.

The plan includes the County’s community sewer project and its recycled water elements, plus locating and drilling new wells further east in town and away from the seawater intrusion, among other projects.

This new well was approved last June with the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget after years of planning and study.

The deadline for bidding on the well portion is 3 p.m. March 28, that’s when the CSD will open the bids and read them aloud, unfortunately the CSD is still under coronavirus pandemic rules and so the office is closed to the public.

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