Water and sewer infrastructure improvements on the horizon

City seeks grants and low-interest loans from the state

■ Melissa Diaz Hernandez / Editor

The city of Hemet has approved spending another $50,000 with an Orange County engineering firm to refine plans for an upgrade to the city’s sewer and water system.
The contract amendment brought the total cost of the design job up to as much as $150,000 before the projects have even been put out to bid.
The upgrades are citywide within the city’s service area with the wells serving the entire system.
“We are looking to replace and repair old sewer infrastructure,” said Deputy Director of Public Works-Operations Kristen Jensen. “The projects that pertain to water are to improve water quality and future reliability for water supply as well as address deferred maintenance—the key issue.”
“We are seeking grants and/or low-interest loan funding from the state for the projects,” continued Jensen. “In order to get the grants, the projects must be in ready-to-bid status. The plans will be getting the city to a place we haven’t been in a decade.”
The second amendment to the agreement between the city of Hemet and Project Partners, Inc., a firm that provides engineering and design support services for water and sewer capital improvements, was unanimously approved Feb. 13 by the Hemet City Council. In addition to the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) work, Project Partners, Inc. was initially contracted in April 2017 to begin work on updating the Water Master Plan and Sewer Master Plan, according to the staff report. The second amendment increases the contract up to $150,000. That represents another $105,000 above the initial agreement.
Councilwoman Bonnie Wright pulled the item for discussion and asked Jensen, “I have a question with regards to the Master Plans that were identified in the staff report. Does the Sewer Master Plan, is that also part of the Drainage Master Plan, and if it’s not, where are we on the Drainage Master Plan?”
Jensen responded, “No, it is not part of the drainage Master Plan. They are separate and the Drainage Master Plan is something the engineering department has been heading up. I do not have an update on that other than we have been, as you know, working with Riverside County Flood Control to get some funding for a portion of what is identified in the Master Plan.”
The original contract amount in April 2017 was $45,000. On Oct. 11, the item was brought before council to increase the amount $55,000, to not exceed a total contract amount of $100,000 increasing the term to June 30, 2018. The item was brought back to council again on Feb. 13 for a second amendment to increase the term for one additional year to June 30, 2019 and add another $50,000 to the amount for a contract not-to-exceed $150,000.
According to the staff report, the contract extension has no general fund impact. Funding for professional services are available through approved fiscal year 2017/18 Water and Sewer Operating Budgets, as well as, specific CIP project budgets.
The increase in compensation by $50,000 is to allow Project Partners, Inc. to continue to assist staff with finalizing projects packages.

Status of projects
Six projects are set to be in “ready-to-bid” status by June 2018 with one remaining project (Water Main Replacement – Various site-Replace old Water Line throughout City – Planning, Design & Construction) with a ready-to-bid date to-be-determined and will require 60 of the 298 total hours of contracted work from Project Partners, Inc. Two projects are in ready-to-bid status with another one set to complete Feb. 23 and another set for sometime February.
Project Partners, Inc is located in Laguna Hills with clients including Orange County Sanitation District, Yorba Linda Water District, City of Torrance, County of Orange, City of Los Angeles, City of San Juan Capistrano, City of National City, and City of Ontario.

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