Village News Reporter
The Rainbow Municipal Water District certified the Programmatic Environmental Impact Report for Rainbow’s water and sewer master plan.
A 4-0 Rainbow board vote Aug. 30, with Miguel Gasca absent, approved the PEIR and the Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program for the district’s Water and Sewer Facilities Plan. The PEIR may be used for many of the individual projects. Rainbow’s Water and Sewer Facilities Plan includes 28 water system projects, 10 sewer system projects, maintenance activities, and 400 miles of pipelines.
“This will save us a lot of money and time in the future,” said Rainbow general manager Tom Kennedy.
The PEIR covers cumulative impacts. Individual projects may have impacts not included in the PEIR. “We can amend this document in a much more streamlined way,” Kennedy said. “An amendment to an EIR is way faster.”
A June 2019 Rainbow board action approved a professional services agreement with Helix Environmental to prepare the PEIR, which analyzes Rainbow’s reasonably foreseeable projects and maintenance and construction activities, discloses the potential environmental impacts of such activities, and where appropriate identifies standard recommended mitigation measures capable of reducing and avoiding impacts to below a level of significance.
The PEIR includes technical reports on biological resources, cultural resources, and paleontological resources. Field surveys were conducted as part of the preparation for the reports. Public outreach was also performed as part of the PEIR development process to engage various stakeholders, including neighboring Native American Tribes.
The PEIR also identifies which Rainbow plans are not expected to result in potentially significant impacts to biological resources. That can be used to facilitate permitting for individual projects.
The draft PEIR was released for a 45-day public review period May 25. Prior to releasing the draft PEIR Rainbow staff asked neighboring Native American Tribes to share the cultural resources technical report and to offer consultation.
The PEIR indicated that the Water and Sewer Facilities Plan would not result in significant impacts to aesthetics, air quality, agriculture and forestry, greenhouse gases, land use and planning, mineral resources, population and housing, public services, recreation, or utilities and service systems. Potentially significant impacts and recommended mitigation measures for the other resource areas were addressed. No significant and unmitigable impacts were identified.