Break out the cake and ceremonial checks, the Nacimiento Water Project is done.
Correction: It’s done enough.
On June 7, San Luis Obispo County supervisors are scheduled to present Nacimiento Project Manager John Hollenbeck with a resolution recognizing his work over the past six years on the county’s largest infrastructure project to date.
Supervisors will also receive a project update that should include ratifying an earlier decision declaring the project is entering into its operation and maintenance phase; the Nacimiento Project Commission made such a declaration in February.
To round out the congratulatory trifecta, supervisors and project officials will accept a $387,962 ceremonial check from Pacific Gas and Electric for implementing energy-saving measures in the project’s design.
The 45-mile lifeline—bringing water from Lake Nacimiento north of Paso Robles, to communities lining the Highway 101 corridor, and ending in San Luis Obispo—has been pumping water since February. Though a few of the multiple construction contracts remain open while contractors round out a few last-minute “punch list” items, the construction phase is considered effectively complete.
“The project is nearing completion of the design, bidding, and construction phase … [the pipeline] should last nearly a century with the proper care, operation, inspection, maintenance, and repair to this brand new asset which conveys a very precious resource—water!” the county staff report states.
One of the last bits of tidying up includes fixing two sections of intake pipe crews discovered had “buckled” as the pipeline underwent its first series of tests last August. Project officials and lawyers are in negotiations with Black and Veatch, which built the failed section, on a settlement to complete the necessary repairs, according to a May 26 project update before the Nacimiento Project Commission.
Meanwhile, criminal charges brought against former Teichert site supervisor Henry “Hank” Duggins are also in a holding pattern. Duggins faces four felony counts ranging from involuntary manslaughter to violating state safety standards after two men were killed under his supervision in late 2008. As of press time, Duggins had not entered a plea, according to court records.
The project delivered 142.3 acre-feet of water to San Luis Obispo in April. SLO is the only recipient of Nacimiento water so far, according to a staff report.