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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 29th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 34 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 34

Contractors are almost done drilling under the Santa Maria River Levee for the Nipomo pipeline

BY AMY ASMAN

Water was the topic of the day at an Oct. 25 event highlighting the ongoing construction of the Nipomo Supplemental Water Project, which will pump a combination of state and Santa Maria city water to Nipomo via an inter-tie pipeline.

“[This project] is a lifeline to the Nipomo Mesa,” Nipomo Community Services District General Manager Michael LeBrun said before a crowd of local and state officials, as well as employees from the city of Santa Maria and NCSD.

The first phase of the $17.5 million project includes three separate bid packages. Southern California-based ARB Inc. is in the process of horizontal directional drilling under the Santa Maria River Levee to connect the water systems in Santa Maria and Nipomo—what officials call the most complicated part of the project.

Specialty Construction Inc. of San Luis Obispo will build a mile-long pipeline down Blosser Road to pump stations in Santa Maria, and Spiess Construction Co. Inc. will build the half-mile pipeline heading into Nipomo, as well as four pump heads to assist in the disinfection process.

NCSD’s LeBrun said the district and its leaders are pleased that all three of the contractors involved in this phase of the project are in California.

Newly elected San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Caren Ray—whose district includes Nipomo—called the pipeline “part of a regional solution to our supply issues.”

“It took a lot of courage to go down this path,” Ray said before presenting the NCSD Board of Directors with a certificate of appreciation from the county.

A 2005 settlement stipulation reached as a result of a lawsuit commonly referred to as the Santa Maria Groundwater Litigation requires the NCSD to provide the Nipomo area with a minimum of 2,500 acre-feet of supplemental water per year. This project is expected to pump in 3,000 acre-feet.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a challenge to the Santa Maria groundwater basin plan, ending 16 years of litigation over the issue.

The $17 million project’s financing plan was approved in April of this year. A similar, but more expensive, pipeline proposal was knocked down by voters in spring of last year.