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Pismo extends water supply to Coastal Christian for fire suppression

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Pismo Beach lent a watery helping hand to a local school to stave off possible fire outbreaks.

The Coastal Christian School (CCS) received Pismo Beach City Council approval on Nov. 16 to top off its fire suppression water tanks with Pismo's water supply when the school's water reserve hits a low level during the fire extinguishing process.

IN THE PIPELINE The Coastal Christian School will add two water tanks to its existing five for fire suppression, which will be connected to the city's water system through a six-inch water meter. - SCREENSHOT FROM PISMO BEACH AGENDA REPORT
  • Screenshot From Pismo Beach Agenda Report
  • IN THE PIPELINE The Coastal Christian School will add two water tanks to its existing five for fire suppression, which will be connected to the city's water system through a six-inch water meter.

"We got a conditional use permit approval for building a gymnasium and some classrooms to accommodate our seventh to 12th graders," said Coastal Christian School Principal Tom Olmstead. "We will need to be able to have more water available in case of an emergency to make sure this building would be safe."

Though the school is located outside Pismo Beach city limits, officials say that it's "within its sphere of influence." Olmstead added that its 1005 North Oak Park Blvd. location was voted as a moderate-risk fire area that's not under "any high-risk concern." The water from the city is strictly meant for fire-related emergency use only.

CCS's fire system supply is well below the fire suppression requirements, which prompted school officials to ask for the city's help. It currently has 25,000 gallons of water across five tanks for fire extinguishing and a separate tank for domestic water use.

According to the council agenda report, the school fire system must be able to provide 1,500 gallons of water per minute for two hours. But the school's on-site well can only supply a maximum of 70 gallons per minute, which means they need an 180,000-gallon reservoir for fire suppression.

"However, if the school is able to utilize the city's water system, it would only need to construct two additional 5,000-gallon tanks for fire suppression storage," the report stated.

Though Pismo Beach extended its approval, the ultimate decision lies with the San Luis Obispo Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). The city will send an extension of services application to LAFCO, and the school will be required to pay for all costs associated with permitting, construction, and any LAFCO fees. Pismo Beach Assistant City Manager and Public Information Officer, Jorge Garcia, told New Times that they expect LAFCO approval in February 2022. He added that CCS would also be billed an outside user rate for any amount of water they use from the city.

Pismo Beach's partnership with CCS is symbiotic. School officials said that approving city water supply could also benefit the larger community in several ways. Once the new water tanks are built on school grounds, CCS would open its gym and classrooms after hours for community recreational use.

It would also install an antenna to improve Pismo Beach's overall water system, specifically through the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) that can allow customers to track their usage through an online portal.

"In addition to providing fire suppression, the city has been considering moving its water system to an AMI system that may require the use of antennas," Garcia said. "The proposed agreement not only governs CCS's use of city water, but also allows the city to install an antenna on the school's property should the city need to do so to support a future AMI system." Δ

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