Fire Aftermath – New Water Reservoir for Independence with Pressure Concerns

The disastrous fire of last July brought the tiny town of Independence to the brink of possible destruction, and the repercussions continue. The very damaging flood and mudslide this July tore through Oak Creek, destroying homes and closing Highway 395. The fire last year left the land above Oak Creek devoid of vegetation and vulnerable to mudslides. The July 2007 fire also destroyed the town’s water reservoir. New water tanks are just about ready to go into service.

In 2007 fire tore down Independence creek banks and right through the water reservoir. The tremendous heat from the fire destroyed the reservoir cover and inside. Since then, Inyo County has rented portable tanks to use for the town water supply. Public Works officials have worked the details to pay for a new water system, including insurance payments.

The new tanks are in, and initially Public Works schedule the switch-over to the new system for next week. Concerns over possible high pressure and impacts to residents’ appliances and water lines have caused officials to delay the switch for at least a couple of weeks or longer.

Interim Public Works Director for Inyo, Doug Wilson, said that residents do need time to digest the information and reach conclusions. He admitted that Public Works doesn’t know what will happen when they make the system switch over. He said that officials believe the new system will raise the pressure by 7 psi. Public Works will check pressure at residents’ homes if they request it.

Installation of regulators will be up to homeowners. The Public Works Department has scheduled a public meeting on this issue for Wednesday, November 12 at 6pm in the Supervisors’ boardroom at Independence.

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