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Utilities Department 879 Morro Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


M e asu r e Y Co mm u n it y Fo r u m

Measure Y Community Forum (½ cent sales tax) Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | 6:00 pm San Luis Obispo Library - Community Room 995 Palm Street, San Luis Obispo

How Measure Y funds were spent last year and the audit of that spending Recommendations from the residents of the Revenue Measure Advisory Committee and give your feedback Contingency plans being developed if Measure Y does not continue

For more information write to or call Michael Codron at (805) 781-7112

Designed by: Verdin

Water & Sewer Problems 8 am to 5 pm (805) 781-7220 After Hours & Weekends (805) 781-7312

Come learn about:


Emergency Numbers

Printed on recycled paper

Our Facebook Communit y Continues to Grow If you haven’t already done so, check out the Utilities Department’s Facebook page at SLOUtilitiesDepartment. You’ll get quick updates on the latest projects, tips to save money on your water and sewer bill, fun facts about your water and sewer utility, and much more. So like us on Facebook and join the conversation.

SLO Water Supply Looks G ood Despite Driest Year on Record The Governor has declared a state drought emergency. Our

While our memories can quickly fade, the 1987-1991 drought

community is clearly in a serious drought. Although we hear

had a profound impact on San Luis Obispo and those who ex-

the desperate stories of statewide water shortages, the

perienced it can vividly recall the effects. The subsequent

conservation habits that are ingrained in this commu-

decisions made and actions taken by City Council, com-

nity’s culture continue to make a positive difference. The City of San Luis Obispo is not in a desperate situation. Your local water supply remains reliable and secure. The community’s conservation ethic and its multi-source water supply are paying off in this drought.

Our worst drought occurred from 19871991, with an average annual rainfall of only 13 inches. In comparison, the average annual rainfall for the last four years was approximately 20 inches.

munity members, and staff to secure reliable water

Wher e does our water come fr om?

Whale Rock Reservoir Salinas Reservoir

7.5 years worth of water in our res-

Nacimiento Reservoir

ervoirs as of January 2014. Manda-

tory conservation actions would only

be required in the last 3 of those years.

The City now has five water sources to meet com-

munity water demand: Salinas, Whale Rock

and Nacimiento Reservoirs, recycled water (for irrigation) and groundwater. Your water

supply is reliable and secure – including enough water for new development.

2013 Water Supply Sources

Assuming we’re in a drought just as severe, we still have an estimated

resources for this community are now bearing fruit.

Your investment in a multi-source wa-


23% 19%

Recycled Water (for irrigation) 3% Groundwater 1%

This is good news for San Luis Obispo.

ter supply allows for responsible use,

even during a dry year. As always, use water wisely and efficiently.

Your Utilities Services Section is available to assist with questions regarding drought, irrigation practices, and water-wise landscaping. For helpful water conservation information, contact Utilities Services Manager Ron Munds at rmunds@ or visit

Highlights IN THIS ISSUE:


SLO Water Supply | Operation Clean Sweep Lead & Copper Monitoring New Sewer Cap Improved Utility Billing | Rainy Season is Coming


Spring 2014 Volume 18, Issue 2

Maj o r C han g es at Waste wate r Tr e atm e nt Pl ant Facility Le ads City into the Future with New Name, Energy Efficiency Upgrades The City’s wastewater treatment plant is getting a makeover, including major energy efficiency

improvements and a new name – the Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF).

At a Jan. 30 ground breaking ceremony, plans were

unveiled for major upgrades that will save energy at the plant, help the environment and control costs. As part

of its energy efficiency initiative called the Progressive Resource & Energy Partnership (PREP), the Utilities

O pe r ati o n C le a n S w e e p C l e a n e r S tr e e t s M e a n s B e tte r C r e e ks Street sweepers help keep the streets of SLO free of debris, and help the environment by picking up large leaves, debris and trash, as well as finer particles including metals that come from vehicles, that would otherwise wash away into our creeks. However, street sweepers sometimes can’t do their job because parked cars are in the way. For sweeping to be as effective as possible, we need your help. Although it can be challenging, find alternatives to street parking on scheduled street sweeping mornings in your neighborhood and encourage your neighbors to do the same.

Department has connected with Pacific Gas and

Electric (PG&E) in a unique effort to make the facility more energy efficient.

Fin d o u t y o u r n e i g h b o rh o o d ’s s tr e e t s we e p in g s c h e d ul e:

“We’re leading the way in California to pursue the first



will help improve energy efficiency at a major municipal

or scan this QR code

facility is over 50 years old and some of the equipment

2. Find and select your street on the map, and a pop-up window will open telling you the sweep schedule.

public-private partnership of this kind with PG&E that facility,” said Utilities Director Carrie Mattingly. “Our dates back to the ‘60s. In an effort to control costs

and help further the city’s goal to be effective stewards of natural and fiscal resources now and into the

future, we’re moving forward to modernize the Water Resource Recovery Facility.”

For more information about the project, please contact WRRF Super visor Howard Brewen at

Here’s a tip: Once you find out your day, put a note on the refrigerator, in your car, or in your smartphone to help remind you.

Street sweepers help the environment by sweeping up leaves, debris, trash and fine metal particles that would otherwise litter our roadways, streams, creeks and, ultimately, our oceans. Though leaves are part of the natural environment, they can concentrate in the storm drain system and create organic matter that chokes life in the creeks. If the sweeper is unable to do its job, all this material will eventually end up in our creeks, adding pollution that can be avoided. Please take a moment to find the day the sweeper comes through your neighborhood, and then try to make it your routine to figure out alternative parking that day. A little effort on your part will make a huge difference in both time and money.

San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx ceremonially plugs in new energysaving LED lighting that will be part of major efficiency upgrades at the Water Resource Recovery Facility


Questions: call 781-7220 for more information.

Samples Show High Water Quality Lead and C opper Monitoring Program 2013 In-home water sampling results show that the City of San Luis Obispo’s water system is in excellent condition, with the lead and copper metal levels significantly below the regulatory standard.

The City’s Utilities Department conducted an in-home water sampling program in August 2013 with selected volunteer residents, who collected cold water

Common Water Quality Questions

samples from kitchen or bathroom faucets, after not using any water for at

least six hours. The time allowed any potential lead and copper metals in the

plumbing a chance to leach into the water. The samples were then sent to an independent laboratory to be analyzed.

Unlike most substances found in reservoir or groundwater water supplies, lead and copper enter the drinking water system primarily through pipe corrosion or solder in plumbing. The corrosion is caused by the chemical makeup of

What c auses my water to look rust y and /or discolore d? Discoloration is usually associated with some

water, including dissolved oxygen levels, low pH and low mineral content

sort of work on the water distribution system,

in the water. Grounding household electrical systems to plumbing may also

such as hydrant flushing, water line work or re-

worsen the problem.

pair. Rapid movement of water through the pipes

The City is required to sample and analyze its drinking water to monitor lead

or some sort of pipe disturbance can cause

lead and copper during previous checks, the City has been granted a reduced

the discoloration. Though visually unpleasing, the

and copper levels. Because of the City’s track record in finding low levels of

particles in the pipe walls to dislodge, causing

monitoring schedule, requiring the City to now monitor every three years.

water does not pose any health risks. To remove

A big thank you goes out to all participants, past and present, for their

flush water through hose bibs and faucets start-

the discolored water from your home's pipes,

assistance. The next sampling will occur in summer 2016.

ing from as close to the meter as possible, and

For more information about the program or any other water quality issues, call Water Treatment Plant Supervisor Dean Furukawa at 781-7566.

bibs or faucets until the water runs clear.

Great Time to Check , Repair Your Irrigation System During typical winters on the Central Coast, irrigation can be turned off until March, or when the ground begins to dry. Since dry winters such as the one we are currently experiencing require some irrigation, homeowners and business owners should visually check soil-moisture levels. Scratch down a few inches to see if the soil is dry. Any evidence of moisture indicates that watering probably isn’t necessary.

then working your way back through other hose

Spr in g L awn Ir r ig ati o n G u id e Month

Irrigation Minutes per Week


10 minutes/week


30 minutes/week


45 minutes/week

This is the perfect time of year to evaluate your irrigation system and make repairs or changes for the next season. Taking a little time now to check for broken sprinkler heads and valves can save a lot of money during the spring and summer.


Spring 2014 Resource  

The City of San Luis Obispo Utilities Department publishes its Spring 2014 Resource, complete with a SLO water supply update, information on...