Water district OKs funding for Newtown Canal grading project | TheUnion.com

Water district OKs funding for Newtown Canal grading project

The board of directors for the Nevada Irrigation District on Wednesday approved $346,136 in contracts to begin work to grade a portion of the abandoned Newtown Canal and to install a new trash rack at Combie Dam.

The original canal was abandoned when the canal was rerouted to the roadway in a pipeline as part of the controversial Newtown Canal project.

The canal along Newtown Road, near Highway 49, likely had existed for 150 years — but the water district said bottlenecks were disrupting the flow of water to the Lake Wildwood Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Back in 2007, the water district board proposed bypassing the canal with pipe, but shelved the idea when residents objected. Plans to instead rehabilitate the canal were scuttled, however, after the district failed to get a necessary easement from a property owner.

The board returned to its original plan and in 2015, approved a plan to abandon the canal and install some 1,650 feet of pipe nearby. The $1.1 million project replaced about a 1,900-foot section of the canal.

The project approved on Wednesday is to grade a portion of the abandoned canal for stormwater, a mitigation measure that was part of the California Environmental Quality Act document for this project. The district has received approval of the drainage plans by the property owners that this grading will be affecting, district spokeswoman Susan Lauer said in a press release. Hansen Bros. Enterprises submitted a proposal in the amount of $234,782 in order to complete the grading for four properties. Due to budget constraints and design plans still in process, the remaining portion of the canal will be regraded next year.

The board also approved a $111,354 contract with NMI Industrial, based in Sacramento, to install a new trash rack for the Combie South Powerhouse. The rack is mounted to the face of Combie Dam over the intake to the south powerhouse penstock to protect hydroelectric operations. According to the staff report, the existing trash rack is badly deteriorated and the cleaning system does not adequately remove debris.

The next regular meeting of the NID Board of Directors will be held at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26, at the NID Business Center located at 1036 West Main St., Grass Valley. NID Board meetings are open to the public.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.

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