By Karen Brainard
The backup power project for Ramona Municipal Water District’s Poway Pump Station is moving along with construction slated to begin in January and be finished in June or July.
“The whole idea is to get this thing on line before the next fire season,” said Mike Metts, the district’s contracted engineer. The project will add a natural gas line to the pump station that sits at the eastern edge of Poway near the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve and pumps water 1,000 feet uphill to Ramona. Because the pumps run only on electricity, they cannot operate if there is a power outage. Adding a pump that runs on natural gas would provide a backup power source and could be used during peak electrical times to reduce costs, according to the district.
Metts said project bids are scheduled to be opened on Jan. 17. Acquisition of two of the three easements needed for the pipeline have been completed and the third was expected to be finalized in December, said Metts. The county waived the cost of its easement, he added. Metts said the project is estimated to come in less than $2 million.
The water district has been working with the county, City of Poway and San Diego Gas & Electric. An SDG&E natural gas pipeline runs along Espola Road in Poway, about two miles east of the pump station. RMWD General Manager David Barnum noted that the 4-inch pipeline will be installed in existing, pre-disturbed easements.
“We will not actually be trenching through the part of the preserve where the hikers should be,” he said.