Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



February 18, 2003



March 4, 2003



Honorable Board of Supervisors


Neil R. Cullen, Director of Public Works


Initial Study and Negative Declaration - Well Replacement Project - County Service Area No. 11 - Pescadero Area




Hold a public hearing on the Initial Study and Negative Declaration for the replacement of County Service Area No. 11's (CSA11) water well.



Close the hearing and consider the proposed Negative Declaration together with any comments received during the public review process, and adopt a resolution finding that:



On the basis of the initial study, comments received thereto, and testimony presented and considered at the public hearing, there is no substantial evidence that the project will have a significant effect on the environment;



The findings on the Negative Declaration reflects the independent judgment of the Board of Supervisors; and



The Negative Declaration is complete, correct and adequate and prepared in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act and applicable State and County Guidelines.


Previous Board Action


Created CSA11 in 1988 to provide water for the Community of Pescadero.



Constructed water system improvements in 1991-1992 pursuant to Chapter 27 of the Municipal Improvement Act of 1911.



Authorized submission of an application for federal assistance to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for construction of a new water well for CSA11 to serve the Community of Pescadero.


Key Facts


A consultant's analysis of the long-term reliability of CSA11's existing wells conducted in 2001 concluded that:



based on the current pumping rate, the existing wells could fail due to lack of water in 8 to 15 years.



installation of a new deeper well in the vicinity of the existing wells would extend the life of the CSA 11 water supply to at least 38 years.



There is an opportunity to obtain financial assistance for constructing a new well from the USDA under the Federal Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program.



The formal application for financial assistance from the USDA must include documentation of compliance with the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act).


The study referenced above concluded that there is sufficient storage in the groundwater aquifer to supply water to the community of Pescadero for at least 38 years, but that a deeper well needs to be installed in the vicinity of the existing wells to better access the aquifer.


We submitted a preliminary application for federal assistance for the new well to the USDA in October of 2002. The USDA responded that the project could qualify for a grant that would provide approximately 45% of the cost of installing a well and invited the County to submit a formal application. The formal application must include documentation of compliance with CEQA and NEPA. We then retained a consultant (LSA Associates) to assist with the CEQA and NEPA requirements. LSA prepared the necessary Initial Study and Negative Declaration and a Notice of Public Hearing/Notice of Intent to Adopt a Negative Declaration was posted at the Hall of Justice and at the Post Office in Pescadero. The Notice was also published in the San Mateo Independent newspaper.


The final date for the public to submit written comments was February 20, 2003. We will provide copies of any written comments that we receive, and your Board may also hear additional testimony during the public hearing.


We believe that construction of the deeper well is considered categorically exempt under NEPA and are also processing the required documentation in conformance with NEPA guidelines.


Visioning Statement

We believe that our recommendation is consistent with the Shared Commitment to "ensure basic health and safety for all", as a reliable supply of safe drinking water is essential to public health and well being of the Community of Pescadero.


Fiscal Impact

The estimated total cost of the project is $280,000 and we are proposing that the project be funded by the a grant from USDA ($126,000) and a loan from the County General Fund ($154,000). CSA 11 will repay the County loan, which will require an increase in CSA 11 water rates. We estimate the rate increase will be approximately $9 per month per user based on an average consumption of ten (10) units of water and a loan for a period of 30 years at an average rate of 4.5 percent (4.5%). We will bring a form of agreement to your Board which will provided the terms and conditions of a General Fund loan and repayment schedule. The project will not go forward without the required financing.


There is no overall impact to the General Fund as the principal and interest will be repaid from the revenue of CSA11.


A form of resolution has been approved by County Counsel.