PARADISE — The Paradise Irrigation District was told on Thursday morning that the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services agreed that the district’s request that its Reservoir B Replacement project qualifies for Federal Emergency Management Agency funding as it relates to the Camp Fire.
The reservoir was damaged in the fire.
The announcement increases the likelihood that FEMA will help fund the $11.77 million project that could also be funded through insurance proceeds. Consultant Sami Kader told the board they hope to hear from FEMA in December.
Kader told the board that FEMA could still deny the request but it means that it would be disagreeing with both the state and PID.
PID began taking a look at the project in November 2017 which was to improve the existing structure in an effort to increase water supply to town, water storage capacity and create redundant reliability for the community.
At the time, PID noted that in the event of pipeline failures or unexpected crises, a versatile water supply system will provide flexibility and ultimately, faster recoverability.
The plan then consisted of two major parts: the replacement of Reservoir B with two steel tanks to increase volume and water quality, and installation of a pump station and pipeline to directly deliver water from the Water Treatment Plant to Reservoir A.
But about a year prior to the fire, then-Division 5 Director Cliff Jacobson, noted the importance of Reservoir B to the Ridge safety during that November 2017 meeting.
“If you don’t have a backup generator at the hospital, it would be critical. Not so much at your house,” Jacobson said at the time. “But if we don’t have backup redundancy for water for fire protection and for our businesses and residents, that could be a major disaster even for a short period of time.”
The board approved the staff’s recommendation that it hire Paradise native and former PID employee Keith O’Brien to provide short-term safety and operation training consulting services in an amount not to exceed $17,000.
Interim District Manager Tom Lando told the board that with Distribution Supervisor Jim Ladrini leaving and Assistant Distribution Supervisor Pete Grout taking over Landrini’s duties, he thought the board should hire someone to provide safety and operations consulting services on a short-term basis.
That person turned out to be O’Brien who is respected by staff and able to assist Peters, Lando said. O’Brien will work for two to four weeks at $100 per hour up to the total of $17,000.