With Independence residents facing the potential of $500 plumbing bills, the Inyo Supervisors were faced with concerned Independence residents at their meeting on Tuesday.
The original reservoir for the town of Independence was destroyed by the Inyo Complex Fires. Insurance money allowed the county to build a reservoir, but this time around the tanks were installed above ground leading to an increase in water pressure to 370 homes and businesses that are served by the Independence water system.
Acting Public Works Director Doug Wilson explained that at roughly 100 psi, water pressure in Independence is already higher then the 80 psi allowed by the building code. With out major engineering efforts to revamp the system, residents will have to install pressure regulators to keep up with the water pressure that could go up to roughly 110 psi.
With the new reservoir ready to go online, County staff recently notified residents that the water pressure in town was about to jump, leaving people to ponder an estimated $300-700 plumbing bill.
At the Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, residents of Independence wondered why they should have to pay money to fix a problem that they didnt cause. None of the Supervisors appeared interested in using county money to pay for plumbing at every house in Independence.
With residents told about the problem in November that needed to be fixed in December, residents also asked for more time to do the work if they have to. The county is working against a deadline on this issue. Insurance payments paid for the new tanks, but also pay $10,000 a month to rent the temporary water tanks that currently supply the town.
That insurance money is set to run out at the end of December, meaning the new tanks have to come on line then, or the county has to pay $10,000 a month to continue renting the temporary tanks. One alternative offered by Wilson is to not keep the new tanks full of water. The pressure will still go up, but not as much as with full tanks.
The board decided to use this alternative as a stop gap measure to allow residents until March 1, 2009, to install the pressure regulators if they choose to do so.