Who will be responsible for the installation of individual private property connections?

Property owners will be responsible to install the private property connection (the connection from the home to the main sewer pipes).

What will happen to the water after it is treated?

It will be returned to our groundwater supply through on-site recharge ponds, and will be extracted at a later date through a production well.

How many months after the Assessment District approval, will construction start on the new sewer lines and plant?

Construction will start approximately 12 months after the approval of the Assessment District.

Are the roads going to be repaved during Phase 1, after the sewer line is installed?

All roads with existing pavement in Phase 1 will be repaved after the sewer line has been installed.

If I sell my property, is the balance for the sewer connection to be paid in full, or will the new home buyer assume the balance?

The assessment on an owner’s property taxes will be pro-rated and transferred to the new buyer after the property is sold.

How and when will the property owner vote on the Assessment District?

On May 13, 2015, property owners approved forming Assessment District 2014-1 by mail-in ballot to finance the cost to construct Phase 1 of the Sewer Project. There will be subsequent assessment district formations by vote at a later date to secure funding to construct Phase 2 and 3.

Will Phase 2 and 3 have to pay for Phase 1?

Property owners in Phases 2 and 3 currently will pay only for those portions of Phase 1 from which they will derive benefit. They will be assessed at a later date, once their Phases are constructed. Phase 1 will only be assessed for Phase 1. Phase 2 will be assessed for its shared cost to construct Phase 1 and the future construction of Phase 2. Phase 3 will have an assessment for its share of the cost to construct Phase 1 and future assessments for Phase 2 and 3.

Will the amount that I am assessed ever increase?

Once the assessment amount is approved, it can never be higher than what appears on the printed Assessment District ballot. However, the assessed amount may be lowered as the project continues to receive grants and other sources of funding.

When will the assessment amount appear on my taxes?

Property tax assessments for infrastructure costs to construct Phase 1 will appear on property tax billing statements beginning one year prior to the completion of construction of Phase 1. If property owners choose to finance their private property connection costs through a separate optional loan that will be offered, that cost will appear on property tax billing statements as soon as the property is connected and using the sewer system.

Can the cost of hooking up to the sewer be financed, or must owners pay cash?

The cost of hooking up to the sewer may be financed. Property owners will be able to finance their private sewer connection, and have it reflected on their property taxes over 20 years.

Is a wastewater collection and treatment system necessary?

We need a wastewater collection and treatment system to protect groundwater quality, and comply with a State mandate prohibiting discharge from septic tanks in our area.

How will it protect groundwater quality?

Septic system discharge leaves behind nitrates and other contaminants that are absorbed into the soil and eventually reach the water that is stored naturally underground in our aquifer. These contaminants degrade the quality of our aquifer over time. Hi-Desert Water District relies on groundwater from the aquifer to deliver clean, safe drinking water to your home.

This project would replace septic systems and their negative impacts on water quality with a sewer system that collects wastewater and delivers it to a treatment plant, where it will be processed and treated until it is clean enough to be recharged into the aquifer without compromising water quality.

What are the State’s Septic Discharge Prohibitions?

According to their Basin Plan amended on November 1, 2011, the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board will prohibit discharge from septic systems in the Town of Yucca Valley beginning May 19, 2016 for Phase 1, 2019 for Phase 2, and 2022 for Phase 3. This means that, as of those dates, property owners within the corresponding phases will have to cease discharging from their septic systems.

What happens if I don’t comply?

The Regional Board’s Enforcement Staff will “implement prompt, consistent, fair, and progressive enforcement” to bring anyone who fails to stop discharging into compliance. Non-compliance letters, Cleanup and Abatement Orders, Cease and Desist Orders, Civil Liability Complaints, and fines of up to $5,000 per day can be used against individual property owners.

The prohibitions will take effect whether or not the Wastewater Reclamation Project moves forward. If the project does not move ahead, property owners would be required to comply with the mandate individually or face enforcement actions.

HDWD is attempting to create a community-wide solution.

Will the treatment facility smell?

Modern wastewater treatment facilities use a number of technologies that effectively minimize odors. HDWD’s new facility would utilize these advancements, resulting in very few odor problems.

Will I have to connect my house to the sewer?

All customers will be required to connect to the sewer system when it becomes available. Property owners will be responsible for hiring a contractor and connecting their properties to the sewer mains that are installed within the streets.

How long will my sewer service be disconnected during this process?

In most cases, your current septic system would be left in service until the new connection is ready. It often takes only a single day to install a collection line that runs from a home or business to the property line, and to abandon the septic system on site.

The efficiency of the process means that a typical home or business would only be out of service for 15-30 minutes.

Why not just treat the water at the wells that produce the water before serving it to customers? Isn’t that easier?

The Regional Water Quality Control Board requires us to protect the groundwater supply, not just treat water before delivering it. Because treating the water at the wells would not address the potentially irreversible contamination of the groundwater supply, this method will not solve our problem, and the Regional Board will not allow it.

How will we pay for it?

A. Property owners within the three phases of the septic discharge prohibition have formed an Assessment District to finance the unfunded portion of Phase 1 of the project. This means that each property owner will pay for a portion of the project cost–financed over 30 years on their property tax bills with a low interest rate of 1%.

Please view the cost breakdown below.

Commercial property owners can call 760-228-6269 or email edm@hdwd.com to obtain individual assessment costs.

CostStructure

How is HDWD trying to save money on the project?

Hi-Desert Water District has explored multiple funding options to provide the best possible project at the lowest possible cost for our customers.

HDWD has secured millions of dollars in federal, state and local grants in addition to debt forgiveness and low interest loans to help finance the project as cost-effectively as possible.

Funding sources include:

  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Grant – HDWD has a $20 million authorization from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, with $17.5 million remaining to be appropriated. The $2.5 million already appropriated has been used to help fund the project’s planning stages
  • State Revolving Fund – HDWD is also applying to the State Water Resources Control Board State Revolving Fund as a disadvantaged community. Loans given out under this program are eligible for up to $8 million in debt forgiveness, and extremely low interest rates (between 0 and 3 percent). These low interest loans dramatically reduce monthly payments and financing costs.
  • Community Development Block Grants – HDWD is applying for these grants to help support a low-income assistance program.
  • Other Resources – HDWD may also be able to form a nonprofit to apply for additional grants that would support the low income assistance program.