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Nipomo Community Services District

The mission of Nipomo Community Services District is to provide its customers with reliable, quality, and cost-effective services now and in the future. Established in 1965 to meet the health and sanitation needs of the local community, Nipomo Community Services District provides water, sewer and waste management services throughout its services area. The District provides lighting, landscape management and drainage services, in limited areas.

History of NCSD – Serving the Community for 50 Years
After four confirmed cases of typhoid fever in the early 1960s, the San Luis Obispo County Health Department tested private wells in the community and found high concentrations of nitrate and chlorides in the water. Coliform was also found in some of the private water wells in Nipomo. It was determined that wastewater was seeping into the water supply. The County Health Department established a direct relationship between the occurrence of infant methemoglobinemia (Blue Babies) in the community and the presence of nitrates in the drinking water.

On June 4, 1964, County Hydraulic Engineer Bob Born made a report to the County Board of Supervisors on the water and sanitary problems in Nipomo. Born’s report concluded with the recommendation that a public entity be formed to address the water and sewer problems in Nipomo.

On Jan. 28, 1965, Nipomo Community Services District was formed under the Community Services District Law of California Government Code Section 61000. The first elected Board Members were William C. Black, Cecil E. (Gene) Davis, James A. Kitchen, Oren W. (Jim) Miller and John R. Mylan. The Board of Directors immediately pursued the construction of the District’s first public water system. A bond election was held on Feb. 15, 1966, and the property owners whose land was covered by the new District approved a property tax measure to support the sale of bonds worth $650,000. These funds paid for the acquisition, construction and installation of the District’s first water system. Construction began in June 1966, and was completed in November 1966, at which time water began to flow. This 25-year bond issue was paid off June 15, 1991. Today, the District serves our growing community with over 4,000 water system connections and 90-miles of buried water lines. The District operates eight wells to produce water and holds over 4 million gallons of water in storage for system reliability and emergency (fire) response. In 2007, the District water system was valued at over $90,000,000.

In the 1970s, County and State Health agencies continued to raise concern over septic systems (private sewage disposal systems) serving high density residential development in Nipomo. The county placed a building moratorium on the area and the State Regional Water Quality Control Board defined a septic system prohibition area covering most of Olde Towne Nipomo east of Highway 101 and areas of dense mobile home parks and residential lots on the west side of Highway 101. In 1984, a zero-interest loan was secured from the State and the District constructed its first sewer project. The project came on line in 1986. In the 1990s the plant’s treatment capacity was expanded while the collection system’s reach continued to expand. In 2014, the District completed a $13 million project to replace the original treatment system. The new treatment plant achieves a much higher level of treatment and sets the ground work for plant expansion as the needs of the community increase. The treated plant effluent is put in basins and allowed to return to our local groundwater supply, effectively and efficiently recycling the community’s wastewater.

Today, the District serves over 3,000 sewer connections via 40 miles of buried sewer collection lines. Wastewater is conveyed to one of two independent treatment facilities. In 2007, the Town Sewer collection and treatment system was valued at nearly $40,000,000 and the system serving Blacklake Village was valued at $10,000,000.

Abilities, Powers, and Jurisdiction of NCSD
Nipomo Community Services District is a nonprofit, customer-owned public utility formed under California Community Services District law. A five-member Board of Directors is elected by and from the District’s registered voter–customers. The elected Board is responsible for establishing District policy and hiring a General Manager.

The current Board is comprised of: Board President Craig Armstrong (serving on the Board since 2012, current term ends 2016), Vice-president Dan A. Gaddis (serving since 2010, current term ends 2018), Ed Eby (served 8 years previously, currently serving since 2014 and term ends 2018), Robert (Bob) Blair (served 10 years previously, currently serving since 2012, term ends 2016), and Dan Woodson (serving since 2014, term ends 2018). Michael S. LeBrun has served as the District’s General Manager since 2009.

The District’s main services are potable water production, treatment, and distribution; and wastewater collection, treatment, and reclamation. The District also provides solid waste services through a franchise agreement. The District provides lighting, landscape management, and drainage services within limited areas of its services boundary. The District and the entire Nipomo Mesa area rely on the County for fire, planning, roads, development approval and police services.

The District’s 2014-2015 Budget includes over $6 million in approved operating expenditures and over $13 million in approved capital expenditures. Independent audits of the District’s finances have been conducted annually for over 20 years.

Nipomo Supplemental Water Project
During its 50-year history, the District’s sole source of water has been wells on the Nipomo mesa. A second source will be added this summer when the supplemental water pipeline to Santa Maria is completed. This new supply represents a long-term solution that will help balance our groundwater basin and secure our long term water resources. The pipeline will initially provide 650 acre feet of water per year. Additional improvements to our water distribution system which will allow deliveries to be increased to 3,000 acre feet per year will be completed as additional funding becomes available.

History of the Project
In 1992, District water customers voted against participating in the State Water project as it was being planned and constructed through the area. In 2004, the District reached an agreement to purchase water (state water and groundwater blend) from the City of Santa Maria. In May 2012, a property tax measure to fund the large-capacity (3,000 acre-foot per year) pipeline project failed. Following the failed water project funding vote, District leaders halted the processing of applications for new water service citing concerns over groundwater supply health and uncertainty of a firm timeline for the delivery of supplemental water to the area. The Board of Directors formed a citizen’s committee to review previous District supply studies and all available information regarding options for supplemental water supplies. The Citizen’s Committee reported to the Board of Directors in February 2013 and the Board approved a funding plan for a scaled down $17.8 million project including the sale of up to $9.5 million in municipal bonds.

The District went to bid in March 2013 and in June awarded three project construction contracts. Construction on the project began July 2013 with the majority of the pipeline successfully crossing under the Santa Maria River bed in November 2013. The project is within budget and on schedule to begin water deliveries in July 2015.

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