After several years of delays, equipment will roll out this week on more than $9 million for improvements to an aging sewer system at Bass Lake.
The sewer system for county areas 2A and 2B, essentially the north and south shores of the lake, serves more than 1,000 parcels and is the lake’s only municipal sewage system. It was built in 1974 and hasn’t yet been improved.
To improve its efficiency and better handle increased demands during tourist seasons, it will undergo major upgrades on its wastewater treatment plant - located behind the Bass Lake courthouse - and the various lift stations and pumps around the lake.
Jared Carter, Madera County Deputy Public Works Director, said the county will work with contractor Clark Bros. Inc. of Dos Palos to complete the projects before summer.
“The work is scheduled to take approximately one year to complete for both projects, but we’re working with the contractor to try and complete most improvements before the summer tourist season,” Carter said.
The wastewater plant improvements will cost $5,468,780, while pumping and lift station upgrades have a price tag of $3,590,266, as approved by the Madera County Board of Supervisors Jan. 3.
To fund the work, supervisors also approved the purchase of bonds for $7.7 million covered by residents in 2A and 2B. In 2013, the two areas held a Proposition 218 vote and approved paying for the bonds to fund the difference between funding already collected over the years for sewer improvements.
Carter said planning, designing, and securing funds for the project, as well as the departure of previous county employees, such as when former director Johannes Hoevertsz resigned in Oct. 2015, all contributed to the delays.
Despite that, he said staff have worked “relentlessly” with the public and those involved to move the projects forward.
Some in Bass Lake remain critical of the delays, however, and have alleged general incompetence in the county was instead to blame.