Frequently Asked Questions


COSTS

How will we pay for Phase 1 of the Sewer Project?

Property owners will finance the cost to construct Phase 1 of the Sewer Project through a loan from the State Revolving Fund.  Payments will be made over 30 years on the property taxes with a low interest rate of 1%.

When will the assessment amount appear on my taxes?

Property tax assessments for infrastructure costs to construct Phase 1 will appear on the December 2018 property tax installment.  Property owners that have escrow accounts may want to start putting away their monthly estimated assessment charge in a separate account so when their December taxes are due, they will have enough to cover the new fees.  It might be wise for property owners to consult with their escrow companies to find out how to add the additional monies to their accounts to cover the increase. If property owners choose to finance their private property connection costs through a separate optional assessment that will be offered, that cost will appear on property tax billing statements as soon as the property is connected and using the sewer system.  The monthly maintenance fee will also be placed on the property taxes once the property is connected to the sewer system.

If I sell my property, is the balance for the sewer connection to be paid in full, or will the new home buyer assume the balance?

The assessment on an owner’s property taxes will be pro-rated and transferred to the new buyer after the property is sold. It rides with the land.

Will the amount that I am assessed ever increase?

Once the assessment amount is approved, it can never be higher than what appears on the printed Assessment District ballot. However, the assessed amount may be lowered as the project continues to receive grants and other sources of funding.

Will Phase 2 and 3 have to pay for Phase 1?

Property owners in Phases 2 and 3 currently will pay only for those portions of Phase 1 from which they will derive benefit. They will be assessed at a later date any remaining amount, once their Phases are designed. Property owners in Phase 1 will only be assessed once for infrastructure costs. In 2017, the Board of Directors unanimously approved merging Phases 2 and 3 to make one additional assessment vote for these phases.  This move will help control costs. 

How much is my assessment?

Please view the cost breakdown below.

Commercial property owners can call 1(844) YV-Sewer or email info@hdwd.com to obtain individual assessment costs.

Will properties owned by government entities such as the Town of YV or the school district incur an assessment also?

Yes.

How and when did property owners vote to form the Assessment District?

On May 13, 2015, property owners approved forming Assessment District 2014-1 by mail-in ballot to finance the cost to construct Phase 1 of the Sewer Project. There will be subsequent assessment district formations by vote at a later date to secure funding to construct Phases 2 and 3.

How is HDWD working to save money on the project?

Hi-Desert Water District has explored multiple funding options to provide the best possible project at the lowest possible cost for our customers.

HDWD has secured millions of dollars in federal, state and local grants in addition to debt forgiveness and low interest loans to help finance the project as cost-effectively as possible.

Funding sources include:

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Grant – HDWD has a $20 million allocation from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and as the District receives the monies it will be deducted from the annual assessment.
State Revolving Fund – HDWD secured a loan from the State Water Resources Control Board State Revolving Fund by securing a low interest rate of 1%. This low interest rate dramatically reduces payments and financing costs.
Community Development Block Grants – HDWD is applying for these grants to help support a low-income assistance program.
Other Resources – HDWD is working to identify sources of funding that would support a low income assistance program.


CONSTRUCTION

Is a wastewater collection and treatment system necessary?

We need a wastewater collection and treatment system to protect groundwater quality, and comply with a State mandate prohibiting discharge from septic tanks in our area.

Septic system discharge has been slowly degrading local water quality for decades. Nitrates and other contaminants from septic system discharge are currently reaching groundwater.

In 2011, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board passed a resolution that will prohibit discharge from septic tanks in parts of Yucca Valley starting with Phase One on May 19, 2016 June 30, 2021, with Phases Two and Three to follow on May 19, 2019 and 2022 2025, respectively. If residents continue to discharge, they may be fined up to $5,000 daily by the State Board. This project is a comprehensive solution that will ensure compliance and protect groundwater quality at the lowest possible cost, while giving HDWD customers access to a reliable and affordable sewer system.

How will it protect groundwater quality?

Septic system discharge leaves behind nitrates and other contaminants that are absorbed into the soil and eventually reach the water that is stored naturally underground in our aquifer. These contaminants degrade the quality of our aquifer over time. Hi-Desert Water District relies on groundwater from the aquifer to deliver clean, safe drinking water to your home.

This project would replace septic systems and their negative environmental impacts on water quality with a sewer system that collects wastewater and delivers it to a treatment plant, where it will be processed and treated until it is clean enough to be recharged into the aquifer without compromising water quality.

What are the State’s Septic Discharge Prohibitions?

According to its revised Basin Plan amendment, the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board has extended the prohibition dates in the Town of Yucca Valley to June 30, 2021 for Phase 1, and for Phase 2 and 3 December 31, 2025. This means that, as of those dates, property owners within the corresponding phases will have to cease discharging from their septic systems.

What happens if I don’t comply?

The Regional Board’s Enforcement Staff will “implement prompt, consistent, fair, and progressive enforcement” to bring anyone who fails to stop discharging into compliance. Non-compliance letters, Cleanup and Abatement Orders, Cease and Desist Orders, Civil Liability Complaints, and fines of up to $5,000 per day can be used against individual property owners.

The prohibitions will take effect whether or not the Wastewater Reclamation Project moves forward. If the project does not move ahead, property owners would be required to comply with the mandate individually or face enforcement actions.

HDWD is attempting to create a community-wide solution.

Why not just treat the water at the wells that produce the water before serving it to customers? Isn’t that easier?

The Regional Water Quality Control Board requires us to protect the groundwater supply, not just treat water before delivering it. Because treating the water at the wells would not address the potentially irreversible contamination of the groundwater supply, this method will not solve our problem, and the Regional Board will not allow it.

Collection System & Facility

How many months after the Assessment District approval, will construction start on the new sewer lines and plant?

Construction will start approximately 14 months after the approval of the Assessment District.

Will the treatment facility smell?

Modern wastewater treatment facilities use a number of technologies that effectively minimize odors. HDWD’s new facility would utilize these advancements, resulting in very few odor problems.

What will happen to the water after it is treated?

It will be returned to our groundwater supply through on-site recharge ponds, and will be extracted at a later date through a production well.

Are the roads going to be repaved during Phase 1, after the sewer line is installed?

All roads with existing pavement in Phase 1 will be repaved after the sewer line has been installed.

 


PRIVATE PROPERTY CONNECTION

Who will be responsible for the installation of individual private property connections?

Property owners will be responsible to install the private property connection (the connection from the home to the main sewer pipes).  A notification to begin the connection process will be sent to property owners six months prior to having to connect their properties.

Will I have to connect my house to the sewer?

All customers within the phase boundaries will be required to connect to the sewer system when it becomes available. Property owners will have a choice for hiring a contractor and connecting their properties to the sewer mains that are installed within the streets. Each owner will also have a choice of financing these costs.

When will connections begin?

Connections to the sewer system will begin once construction of the Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Facility is completed.  It is scheduled to be completed sometime after May 2019.

How long will my sewer service be disconnected during this process?

In most cases, your current septic system would be left in service until the new connection is ready. It often takes only a single day to install a collection line that runs from a home or business to the property line, and to abandon the septic system on site.

The efficiency of the process means that a typical home or business would only be out of service for 15-30 minutes.

What are the requirements of installing the private property connection?

The Town of Yucca Valley’s Building Department is currently working on developing the permit and inspection requirements.

Can I install my own private property connection?

If applying for the State’s Expanded Use Loan to finance costs for the private property connection, property owners may not be eligible if unlicensed contractors complete the work. Property owners must also check with the Town of Yucca Valley for its requirements..

Can the cost of hooking up to the sewer be financed or must owners pay cash?

The cost of hooking up to the sewer is separate from the assessment cost.  This cost may be financed. Property owners will be able to finance their private sewer connection, and have it reflected on their property taxes over 30 years.

How do I apply to finance my private property connection costs?

HDWD will notify property owners six months prior to installing their private property connection to apply for a low interest Expanded Use Loan and provide further details about the process.