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Wasco moves forward with $44M grant application to fund water project

At their regular meeting on Tuesday, the Wasco City Council voted to apply for state funding for a $44 million water system improvement project.

The funding, from the State Water Resources Control Board, would be used for the planning, design and construction of the project.

Since September 2020, the city has worked on identifying the best method to treat 1,2,3-TCP found in the five active groundwater wells used for the city's water supply.

After a study and an analysis by Dee Jaspar & Associates, the city voted to replace four of the five existing wells due to the wells approaching the end of their useful life in the next five to 10 years.

The four existing well sites will be abandoned.

During the budget workshop for the fiscal year 2020-2021, the council also recommended prioritizing water storage and installing an advanced metering infrastructure to improve customer service and efficiency of water meter reads.

The city is considered an expanded small water system serving a severely disadvantaged community and is therefore eligible for up to 100% of the grant, city officials said.

With the funding application, the city seeks financial assistance to make improvements and install necessary treatment to the existing water system. In doing so, the city is seeking to continue to provide clean drinking water to residents of Wasco, according to city officials

Additionally, the city does not currently have water storage capacity and is seeking to install water storage.

The city does not currently have the finances necessary to complete improvement and treatment necessary for the existing water system and with the grant, if approved, the city could realize this need.

Also, at the meeting, the council approved the purchase of radio equipment ass part of the Wasco Police Department start-up.

The purchase order would include a radio repeater, 14 vehicle mobile radios, 14 handheld radios and two dispatch base radios for about $86,000, which is covered by the department start-up appropriation.

The start-up of the Police Department was approved last year, and is expected to begin operations late next year.

The department will need radio equipment to allow communication between dispatch and vehicles used in the field between officers via portable units.

Due to the 30-week lag time to manufacture the equipment, the city found an opportunity to provide equipment on an interim basis to help start the operation until the new equipment is received.

City Manager Scott Hurlbert said, "This is one of the next steps in the formation of the police department."

Chief of Police Charlie Fivecoat said, "It is absolutely critical to our operation that we have to have the communication in order."

Sergeant Charles Shinn announced that Friday, March 24, would be his last day working for the Wasco substation. He will be transferred to the Kern County Sheriff's Office as the sergeant of the background investigation unit.

Shinn has been a sergeant in Wasco since October 2021.

He said of the experience, "It has been an opportunity to grow, and it has been a challenge but an honor to hold the position."

Councilmember Gilberto Reyna said, "You are a great sheriff, and I admire your bravery. We appreciate everything you have done for the community."


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