State: Get plan to fix pipe before logging
Spare parts for the century-old water pipe system that feeds Nevada City’s water treatment plant during the winter months should be available before trees near the pipeline are logged, state officials said this week.
The city’s water pipe system runs through a 35-acre property about a quarter mile northeast of city limits, which is slated to be logged later this summer. Parts of the pipeline are above ground.
City and state officials who braved the rain to visit the site Thursday discussed the plan to cut several trees near the pipe. What would happen if a tree accidentally fell over the pipe? they asked.
Logging near the pipes should not be considered without an emergency repair plan in place, said David Willoughby, a control engineer with the state Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Trees that lean too much over the pipe should be cut once the plan is in place, they said. There is a higher probability a tree could fall naturally and damage the pipe, Willoughby said, pointing to a leaning hemlock tree.
Verne Taylor, the city’s director of public works, said the city’s water pipe system has never failed.
The valve that diverts water from Little Deer Creek into the city pipes is on the property – uphill from where the logging will take place. The water is carried inside a pipe lined with vinyl more than 20 years ago. It lies inside an old iron outer shell installed some 100 years ago, Taylor said.
If the pipe system were damaged, Taylor said Friday, residents could receive water from the Nevada Irrigation District. NID’s D-S Canal, which also crosses the property, supplies the city with water during the summer months when Little Deer Creek’s flow is low.
The city has enough water of its own in its reservoir pond and at its water treatment plant for about four days, Taylor said.
An emergency repair plan should be ready sometime within the next several days and forwarded to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection for review, Taylor said.
On Friday, Taylor went to the site to measure the size of the pipe to know what supplies to order. The inner pipe is 13, 15 and 12.57 inches in diameter at different places, he said.
The property owners, Gary Deardorff and Mary Wells, want to log 40 percent of their property, according to Scott Leonhard, who prepared the timber harvest plan. There are no development plans.
“We’re trying to make it fire-safe and have a healthier forest,” Wells said Friday.
The property owners, who live on the property, also want to build a 90-foot-long Flatcar bridge over Little Deer Creek and several access roads.
Representatives of Friends of Deer Creek, NID, CDF and Robinson Enterprises Inc. also visited the site Thursday.
The public has a month to forward comments to CDF, CDF forester Don MacKenzie said Friday.
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