Q: Why is the project being done all at once?
A: Doing the project in one sweep minimizes its cost, reduces impacts to the neighborhood and allows the water district to continue maintaining operations during construction.
Q: Is there a stipulation with the town of Los Gatos to repair any damage caused to the streets as the result of the increased traffic?
A: Should any of the streets near the facility suffer any damage as the result of the project, there is an agreement in place with the contractor to have the road overlayed with new asphalt when the project is completed.
Q: At any point, will there be a closure to More Avenue?
A: There is no planned widespread closure of the road. But the creation of two new driveway entrances into the water treatment plant, tentatively scheduled for summer 2016, will require the district to temporarily cordon off portions of the street.
Q: Is the water district coordinating start dates with the city?
A: The water district is carefully coordinating the project with the town of Los Gatos and its Public Works Department.
Q: What will the hours be for the work?
A: The water district imposed traffic restrictions on the project’s contractors. The project has different types of trucks on the project, with different hours depending on their function. Hauling trucks, for example, which concentrate on soil and dirt off hauling, are restricted to operating from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All other trucks, including concrete ready mix trucks, can operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. All truck traffic must use the truck route approved by the town of Los Gatos, which runs from Winchester Boulevard to Knowles Drive to Pollard Drive to More Avenue to Granada Way.
Q: It’s the weekend. No construction is supposed to take place. I live across the street. There’s construction taking place outside and it’s very noisy. How do I get a hold of someone? Is there something on the construction board on the property that will list a name or phone number?
A: There are three 4-foot by 8-foot project signs on the outside of the water treatment plant, two on More Avenue and one on Granada Way, that direct people to contact the district’s neighborhood liaison, Tony Mercado, at 408-426-1039. Neighbors can call him day or night concerning any project issue. If the situation dictates more intervention, the liaison will contact Project Manager Mike Munson. Additional phone numbers are posted on the water district’s project web site.
Q: Will there be flaggers at the entrance on More Avenue to the water treatment plant?
A: The project does have and will utilize flaggers as needed. The district has placed more signage along More Avenue to warn people about trucks that will enter and exit the facility.
Q: If the contractor is fined, where do the fines go?
A: The contractor faces a $500 fine for each offense if not complying with imposed traffic restrictions. The water district finds this type of fine as an extremely effective deterrent. All fines collected go back into the project and if not required for the project, go back into the district’s general fund for use to pay for future district projects.
Q: What is meant by an NTP?
A: This is an acronym for a “Notice to Proceed,” which refers to a letter to a contractor stating the date the contractor can begin work. This project’s NTP was July 20, 2015.
Q: Is the water district governed by the Public Utilities Commission?
A: No. Seven elected directors govern the water district.
Q: How may sludge trucks now versus in the future?
A: It depends on construction activity. During winter, the treatment plant has between five to eight sludge trucks weekly. During summer, because of increased water production, 10 to 16 sludge trucks per week are needed to haul off plant’s sludge. There will be more than 100 construction trucks daily during the height of construction. During some periods, there will be less than 10 trucks a day.
Q: The project is about $250 million. Is this being paid by all Santa Clara Valley Water District tax payers or just those served by the treatment plant? Or is this funded by a bond?
A: All water users in what the district has designated as North County Zone W-2 – The town of Los Gatos and the cities of Palo Alto, Saratoga, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Milpitas, Monte Serreno, Santa Clara, Campbell and downtown San Jose – will pay for the Reliability Improvement Project. The district charges the same treated water rate at all three treatment plants. The project itself is not funded by a bond. The water district uses a debt financing method for water utility projects and then uses the rates gathered from retailers to pay for the project and pay back loans.
Q: Will the plant be available for students to tour the facility?
A: Yes. Classes can come to the plant when it is safe throughout construction in order for them to see and understand the process of treating water.