PHOTOS ATTACHED LEFT: Recent heavy rains caused a landslide along the Amador Canal near Irishtown Rd. and Highway 88.
CENTER: An AWA pump station near the Preston Avenue bridge was left hanging in Ione after flood waters in Sutter Creek eroded the property under the pump station building.
RIGHT: Mace Meadows Golf Course staff installed a pump to remove water that flooded a golf course irrigation pump station (at left in photo). Run-off from the golf course can end up in an AWA wastewater pond used for irrigation and Mace Meadows and AWA staff must monitor run-off on the course closely to prevent the pond from overflowing.
Sutter Creek The recent onslaught of winter storms are keeping Amador Water Agency staff working long hours, keeping water and wastewater systems working throughout the county. High winds, landslides, power outages and muddy water runoff have challenged the Agency to keep clean water flowing to customers and wastewater systems intact.
Earlier this month, the Agency Canal Crew discovered a landslide along the Amador Canal that left only a thin wall of earth containing the canal water for a stretch of about 100 feet.
The landslide occurred in steep terrain near Irishtown Road and Highway 88. To prevent further slippage and damage to the area below the canal, Agency crews covered the entire embankment area with plastic sheeting to protect the canal through the next round of storms. The water level in the canal has been lowered to relieve pressure on the compromised canal wall.
The Amador Canal is an open ditch running from Lake Tabeaud to Lower Ridge Road that provides water to about 100 Amador Water Agency raw water customers, primarily for agricultural purposes. So far, service to these customers has not been affected by the landslide.
AWA engineers and staff are monitoring the site closely and working on plans to get necessary equipment into the area and stabilize the slope to prevent further damage and potential interruption of service.
Further Upcountry, high levels of rainfall and runoff caused land slippage affecting portions of PG&E’s Tiger Creek Road. The Agency’s Gravity Supply Line (GSL) runs under Tiger Creek Road where some of these failures have occurred and PG&E requested the Agency stop using the GSL as a precautionary measure while road repairs are underway.
The GSL carries Mokelumne River water to the Buckhorn Water Treatment Plant for the Upcountry water system. AWA powered up two standby pump stations to temporarily replace the gravity-fed GSL during the PG&E work. However, AWA staff have had to manually operate the raw water pump stations when power outages shut down remote communication with the pumps.
In Ione, an AWA pump station near the Preston Avenue bridge was left hanging in mid-air after flood waters in Sutter Creek eroded the property under the pump station building. AWA crews worked three days to disconnect the pump station from the main water distribution system, re-route the water main and remove the building.
Extremely muddy water coming into AWA water treatment plants at Buckhorn and Ione have created extra work for operators to ensure proper filtering of the water coming from the river. Excessive runoff at Mace Meadows Golf Course twice flooded an irrigation pump station used for recycling water and overtopped a 36-inch culvert pipe designed to divert water away the AWA water treatment recycling pond located on the golf course. Mace Meadows employees were able to prevent the excess water in the pond from spilling over the dam.
Winter storms also create problems for the many wastewater systems operated by AWA throughout the county. Rain and runoff have brought wastewater ponds at Lake Camanche Village and Gayla Manor to maximum capacity. This has forced the Agency to execute contingency plans to ensure that no dam breach occurs, including removing wastewater by truck and spray irrigation of treated wastewater during storms.
“We believe these storms have exceeded the 100-year events that the facilities are designed to contain,” said AWA Operations Manager Damon Wyckoff. “Governor Brown has declared a state of emergency in the region due to the recent storms, and emergency grant funding for repairs will be available for damage from the January storms. We are currently awaiting an emergency declaration for the February storms,” Wyckoff said. AWA staff is closely tracking costs and documenting damage and repairs to substantiate the need for state emergency funds. #