Turlock, Ceres could take next step on water treatment plant

Turlock and Ceres could take the next step Wednesday toward a Tuolumne River water treatment plant that reduces their reliance on wells.

City officials will consider a $2.007 million contract with West Yost Associates, an engineering firm based in Davis, to refine construction cost estimates, demand projections and other facets of the long-discussed project.

The work would help officials decide whether to move into detailed design and construction, including a financing plan that is likely to require major rate increases for water customers. The Turlock Irrigation District already has agreed to provide the raw water for the plant.

The cost had been estimated at roughly $150 million to $200 million when the project also included south Modesto, which withdrew last year. The rest of Modesto has received treated river water from the Modesto Irrigation District for about 20 years, reducing demand on wells.

$150 millionPrevious low-end estimate for treatment plant cost

$200 millionHigh-end estimate

29Years project has been discussed off and on

Wednesday’s meeting in Turlock is of the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority board. Its members are Mayor Chris Vierra and Councilman Ken Lane from Ceres and Mayor Gary Soiseth and Councilwoman Amy Bublak from Turlock.

The plant has been discussed off and on since 1987 as a supplement to wells that can be stressed during drought or exceed health standards. At various times, the planning also included Denair, Keyes, Hilmar and Delhi. They can rejoin the project if they pay their share of the costs.

The plant would be built close to where Geer Road crosses the river. TID installed intake pipes in the streambed in 2001, when it was planning to build the plant itself.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

At a glance

What: Stanislaus Regional Water Authority board

When: 10 a.m. Wednesday

Where: Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway