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Ortiz Construction given Rainbow MWD contract for Rainbow Water Quality Improvement Project

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

Ortiz Corporation was awarded the Rainbow Municipal Water District contract to relocate water mains and service laterals as part of the Rainbow Water Quality Improvement Project.

Rainbow’s board voted 4-0 July 26, with Michael Mack absent, to approve a $839,850 contract with Ortiz Corporation, which is headquartered in National City.

The board action also acknowledged that the Rainbow board independently reviewed and considered the information of the environmental Mitigated Negative Declaration certified by the County of San Diego and that the Rainbow board reached its own conclusions that the mitigation monitoring program is

adequately designed to ensure compliance with the mitigation measures during the project’s implementation and that the significant adverse impacts of the project have been reduced to below a level of significance.

In June 2021, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved a project whose primary objective is to reduce nutrient discharge into Rainbow Creek and which will also provide flood control benefits and street improvements to some Rainbow roads. That action approved the advertisement for bid and award of a contract for the Rainbow Water Quality Improvement Project, appropriated $9,000,000 for the project, and adopted the Mitigated Negative Declaration and the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program.

The Rainbow Creek subwatershed covers approximately 7,000 acres in Rainbow Valley. Approximately 5% of that total acreage is currently being used by 37 nurseries and greenhouses which use fertilizer and irrigation water. Runoff from septic leach fields also flows into Rainbow Creek.

Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus levels in Rainbow Creek caused the Regional Water Quality Control Board to establish total maximum daily load (TMDL) contaminant levels in 2006. In 2013, the RWQCB issued a municipal separate stormwater sewer system permit to the county which has an enforceable TMDL reduction for Rainbow Creek. The county evaluated the best way to reduce nutrients and also sought to identify how to fund the project.

Rainbow Creek is within the Santa Margarita watershed, so the best management practices were also incorporated into the Water Quality Improvement Plan for the Santa Margarita Watershed which was finalized in 2018.

The project includes installation of approximately 3,400 linear feet of subsurface wetlands channels; adjacent road runoff will be conveyed through those channels which will deliver the water – minus whatever will be used for the vegetation or soil – to collection pipes and then to the discharge system at Rainbow Creek. The work also includes replacing other drainage channels to convey adjacent road runoff, and the county took the opportunity to add road and pedestrian safety improvements.

Capital improvements will take place along Huffstatler Street by Second Street, Huffstatler Street south of Fifth Street, Fifth Street between Huffstatler Street and Rainbow Valley Boulevard, Rainbow Valley Boulevard from Chica Road to Rainbow Creek Road, and the northern part of Rainbow Valley Boulevard. Some modifications to driveways will be necessary near Fifth Street and Huffstatler Street, on Rainbow Valley Boulevard between Chica Road and Rainbow Creek Road, and along the 800-foot northern Rainbow Valley Boulevard segment.

The Rainbow Water Quality Improvement Project does not involve the water quality in the Rainbow Municipal Water District's distribution system but rather surface water runoff from roads. However, the county’s improvements will create utility conflicts with water district facilities as well as San Diego Gas & Electric and AT&T facilities.

The county’s road easements predate Rainbow’s easements. “They have the prior rights in that area,” said Rainbow acting district engineer Chad Williams.

Approximately four Rainbow water main conflicts and 21 lateral conflicts have been identified based on the county’s final design and multiple site visits. Although the Board of Supervisors authorized the advertisement for bid and subsequent award, the county has not yet advertised the project as the utility conflicts must be resolved.

Rainbow’s facilities will be relocated prior to the start of construction of the Rainbow Water Quality Improvement Project. All relocation of SDG&E gas distribution lines has been designed and construction on the relocation has begun. SDG&E is also finalizing its design to relocate utility poles and overhead electrical lines, and AT&T will relocate their facilities after the electric relocation is complete.

In addition to the estimated 21 service laterals, Rainbow has identified the need to relocate approximately 350 feet of 8-inch water main and 650 feet of 12-inch main and the need to remove three sections of 8-inch water main. The plans and specifications have been finalized.

Rainbow’s staff solicited bids for the relocation work in June. Ortiz Corporation had the low bid of $839,850. SCW Contracting, which is headquartered in Rainbow, bid $1,281,900.

The relocation is expected to be complete by this fall.

 

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