SACRAMENTO – Governor Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 36 authored by Assemblyman Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and co-authored by Senator Nielsen (R-Tehama). The legislation helps fast-track construction of the Paradise Irrigation District (PID) water intertie and the Paradise sewer project, and is supported by the Town of Paradise, the Paradise Irrigation District and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. Specifically, AB 36 allows the Town of Paradise and PID to utilize the design-build procurement method, which is a cost-effective contracting method that can prevent project delays while providing more flexibility for these respective infrastructure projects.
“We are proud of our partnership with Assemblymember Gallagher and the Town and people of Paradise. What happened in Paradise was devastating. With AB 36, we look forward to helping to rebuild that community,” said Robbie Hunter, President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.
Prior to the Camp Fire, Paradise was the largest unsewered community in California. A new wastewater management solution is needed to improve the local economy and stop degradation of groundwater quality caused by failed or failing septic systems. The Town of Paradise is moving forward with studying a regional pipeline to transport wastewater from the Town to the City of Chico Water Pollution Control Plant.
“A sewer system for Paradise has been studied in some form since 1979. AB 36 gives this long-studied project a shot in the arm,” said Steve Crowder, Mayor of Paradise. “This bill would help reduce costs, save time, and ensure quality work.”
In addition to facilitating the sewer project, AB 36 will increase the adaptability of the water supply. PID lost nearly its entire customer base after the Camp Fire. The District is searching for new revenue streams in order sustain itself into the future and provide water to the Town of Paradise. The intertie project would allow PID to temporarily sell surface water that is otherwise stranded in two reservoirs on the ridge.
“Connecting the Paradise water supply to Chico helps PID survive financially, which in turn helps the Town rebuild and be more resilient into the future,” said PID Interim District Manager Tom Lando. “This is a win-win-win.”
In 2019, the Nielsen and Gallagher secured $14 million in the State Budget to keep PID operational for approximately two years. The Governor’s Administration has asked the District to seek long-term funding solutions like the intertie project in order to avoid future state funding requests.
“Government needs to do more than just react to crises. Ultimately, my legislation helps ensure that as the Town rebuilds, it rebuilds better and more resilient to natural disasters than before by facilitating critical projects that modernize the town’s infrastructure,” said Gallagher.