Drinking Water – CalAm

Updated 11/3/18

Cal AM is currently working in our community to upgrade service lines to meet fire sprinkler systems.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Larkfield
Please contact Margaret DiGenova in our Larkfield Office at 707-542-8329 or margaret.digenova@amwater.com.

Updated 5/22/18

BACKFLOW DEVICE REQUIREMENT CHANGES ANNOUNCED

Your block captains raised questions last month about alternatives to our current backflow device requirements. Their questions included whether we could allow similar below-ground devices as is permitted by the City of Santa Rosa. We have conducted a review of our requirements in response to these inquiries.

California American Water has decided to allow the use of an in-ground, dual check device where a residential fire service is required, providing the fire system is constructed as a passive purge system and built with drinking water standard materials.

Passive purge sprinkler systems allow the water within the sprinkler lines to stay fresh by tying the sprinkler lines to internal plumbing fixtures that are regularly used throughout the day. We believe most reconstruction in Larkfield will utilize a passive purge sprinkler system. You may wish to check with your contractor to ensure this is the case.

Some properties may pose a higher backflow risk and require an elevated level of protection up to the previously mandated Reduced Pressure Zone device. Examples of these risks could include, but are not limited to, the addition of customer-owned booster pumps, swimming pools or homes where plumbing is at elevations well above our water mains.

Our engineering department will create specifications for installation of the in-line device in the next several days and we will provide them when they’re complete.

Backflow device requirements are common for most California commercial properties and new residential construction base upon a risk assessment. They are necessary to protect the system from potential contaminants seeping back into the water supply. California American is pleased to be able to make this announcement in our efforts to rebuild Larkfield.

If you have more questions, please feel free to call our service representatives: 916-568-4231, or visit the main office during business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM-noon; 1:00 PM-4:00 PM) at 4787 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa, CA.

We have added customers who have inquired about the issue to this email list. Thank you to everyone who has reached out.

SERVICE REINSTATEMENT PROCEDURES FOR LARKFIELD FIRE RECONSTRUCTION

TEMPORARY WATER FOR CONSTRUCTION OR MOBILE HOMES
Customers can call the Larkfield office directly at 916-568-4231 or visit the main office during business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM-noon; 1:00 PM-4:00 PM) at 4787 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa, CA to request service reinstatement.

Customers will be required to install an approved temporary backflow device before temporary connection. Use of an in-line dual check may be permitted based upon a risk assessment.

Note that customers may wish to consider installing a 1.5-inch device at this time as it will be mandated for new construction on the property and thus reusable. The final size of the required device may be larger or smaller, due to fixture counts in new construction or size of the home; consult with your licensed plumber and residential fire professional.

The account will be reactivated when the required device is installed, if a risk determination requires an Reduced Pressure Zone backflow device verification of testing must be returned to our offices within 30 days of installation.

Customers returning to the same properties reactivating accounts will not be charged for any Cal Am service related to fire service reinstatements. New customers will be assessed standard connection fees as outlined by California Public Utility Commission approved rules and tariffs.

PERMANENT WATER SERVICE

Please note: CalAm will be upgrading all service laterals to 1.5-inch diameter pipe to meet the requirements for residential fire suppression systems, as required by building codes. This will be done before the provision of permanent water. Cal Am will be starting this construction as soon as all water mains are back in service.
To receive a permanent water connection:
Customers can call the Larkfield office directly at 707-542-8329, extension 0 or visit the main office during business hours (Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM-noon; 1:00 PM-4:00 PM) at 4787 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa, CA to request service reinstatement.

Customers will be required to install an approved temporary backflow device before temporary connection. Use of an in-line dual check may be permitted based on a risk assessment.

The account will be reactivated when the required device is installed, if a risk determination requires an RPZ backflow device verification of testing must be returned to our offices within 30 days of installation.

Customers returning to the same properties reactivating accounts will not be charged for any Cal Am service related to fire service reinstatements. New customers will be assessed standard hook-up fees as outlined by California Public Utility Commission approved rules and tariffs.

Please note: CalAm is responsible for costs and obligations as it relates to water service located on the street-side of the customer meter. Customers are solely responsible for all costs within their property beginning from the meter box. This includes backflow devices, outdoor and indoor plumbing and any and all household appliances and fixtures.

 

Updated 5/21/18

CalAm will announce in a few weeks whether or not it will allow us to install inline dual check below ground backflow devices instead of the currently required above ground backflow devices.  The City of Santa Rosa is requiring its rebuilds to install the below ground devices.  Many neighbors have contacted CalAm to advocate for the below ground backflow prevention devices because of above ground issues, such as hitting it with your car, or issues related to freezing, and its just ugly! Imagine every house in our neighborhood having an above ground device in their front yard…see the picture below for examples of the two types.

Below is what CalAm is currently requiring every neighbor to install no more than 12 inches from your meter box in the front of your house:

Below is what the City of Santa Rosa is requiring of its rebuilds – a below ground backflow preventer…this is what we are advocating for!

CalAm is reviewing their backflow policies and will make their decision based on water quality.  If you want to advocate for a below ground dual check backflow preventer, please contact evan.jacobs@amwater.com

Updated 4/18/18

Last remaining Do-Not-Drink zone lifted in Larkfield.
California American Water and the State’s Division of Drinking Water have completed extensive water quality testing and analysis and determined that water in the Larkfield system is safe to drink and consume. California American Water has conducted more than 450 water quality tests at 64 sites throughout Larkfield since October. We have coordinated closely with state water quality regulators to test for more than 76 different contaminants, including volatile organic compounds, which were found to be present following the fires in a different water system. California American Water has restored the Larkfield water system in stages to provide service for existing customers while methodically restoring and testing the system in fire-damaged areas. If you have any questions about water quality in the Larkfield system please call California American Water at 707-542-8329.L

Updated 2/13/18

Below are instructions regarding getting water service reinstated.
This is a step by step instruction for residents who to reinstate their water service after their home is rebuilt. It also provides instructions for that customer who will need a temporary hook up during instruction.

Larkfield_FAQ Service Reinstatement FINAL (PDF)

Updated 1/31/18

CalAm reports that the water main was not impacted by the fire. This means they only need to replace individual meters and upgrade laterals to meet sprinkler fire codes. Water will be made available during rebuild construction and full service will be restored by October 2018.  CalAm will be replacing all 8 fire hydrants in the neighborhood.

– There are no water quality concerns – CalAm will continue to monitor water quality samples as the neighborhood is rebuilt.

– IMPORTANT REBUILD NOTE: If you plan to rebuild immediately and need water service, please contact CalAm so your meter may be prioritized for installation.  E-mail Steven.Dutch@amwater.com.

Drinking water (California American Water). Updated 11/16

Will a new potable service line need to be installed in Larkfield Estates?
Most likely, yes. New construction will likely be required to have fire sprinklers which means a larger service line and meter. We are in the process of surveying our infrastructure. We are hopeful that the damage from this fire was contained to the aboveground elements of the water system – meters, services, valve boxes and hydrants. We will be pressure-testing water mains in the coming weeks to determine if they are damaged.

What percentage of our district was impacted?
Connections lost.
Our customers lost more than 600 homes, schools and businesses during the fire, which represents about 25 percent of the total customer base in Larkfield. We have mailed final bills to all accounts where structures have been verified as destroyed. We forgave all usage for these customers since the last meter read before the fire, which occurred on October 2nd.
There are also those customers whose homes survived but may have used their outdoor irrigation as a last-ditch protective measure during the fire, which may have resulted in higher-than-normal usage to occur. In these cases, we reformulated bills to match their average use for that time of year. Despite these measures, we understand that some customers may be facing financial hardships or we have missed a fire related problem. If this is the case, please call our call center to discuss appropriate financial arrangements or any other account issues you may have.

Customer service and Emergency line: 1.888.237.1333
For non-account related questions, you can call or visit the local office in

Larkfield:
4787 Old Redwood Highway
Santa Rosa, CA 95403

Non-Emergency Phone: 707-542-8329 (note that normal phone service has not been restored to the office yet, so alternately customers can try 707 495-6135)

How will the fire impact water rates?
We don’t know at this time, but we have initiated a claim with our insurance and will work with adjustors in attempts to restore the system, as well as continuing to manage the system as efficiently as possible while rebuilding to current standards.

The fire destroyed a storage reservoir, hydro tank and pump station on Wikiup Drive in addition to the other infrastructure listed in the first questions. We are tracking all expenses related to the fire and will work with the CPUC and other state governing agencies to effectively replace these assets in a timely manner as well as minimize rate impacts to customers.

When will the CPUC hear the rate consolidation item between Sacramento and Larkfield? Public comment date?
In July 2016 we filed a rate case with the CPUC to set rates for Larkfield for 2018, 2019 and 2020. As part of the filing we again requested that the Larkfield districts costs and revenue needs be rolled into our Sacramento District – i.e. rate consolidation. This would allow us to spread infrastructure and operating costs over a larger group of customers.

We believe that this proposal is now more important than ever to ensure that we can fund necessary replacements and improvements without large rate increases to cover the costs. A decision is pending at the CPUC and we would encourage customers to reach out to the CPUC in support of the Larkfield – Sacramento rate consolidation proposal. The best way is to contact the CPUC’s Public Advisors Office. You can mail, call or e-mail your comments:
Please reference the application number when contacting the PAO:
16-07-002
Telephone: 1-866-849-8390
Email: public.advisor@cpuc.ca.gov
Address:
CPUC Public Advisor’s Office
505 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102

Will FEMA help pay for any infrastructure damage to the district?
We will avail ourselves to all available relief funding to mitigate cost associated with rebuilding efforts and are filing insurance claims to recoup costs and damage associated with the fire. We are working with our local, state and federal agencies for potential cost sharing opportunities. As stated, we are tracking all fire-related costs and will be lodging this data with the CPUC.