Manhattan Beach is preparing to replace the city’s largest potable water reservoir.

The $23.5 million capital improvement project to overhaul 7.5 million gallon Peck Reservoir, located on a 2.7 acre site at 1800 North Peck Avenue, is slated to begin in 2020.

Residents will have the opportunity to weigh in and learn about the latest design elements of the impending project at a public works meeting on April 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the Joslyn Community Center.

The reservoir, originally constructed in 1957, houses roughly two-thirds of the city’s water reserves and has reached the end of its useful life, according to city sources.

“The weight of the water, pressure and earthquakes fracture the concrete over time," said Stephanie Katsouleas, the Manhattan Beach public works director. "At some point, the cracks become too big to repair. We are at that point...it will be a full replacement.” 

The reservoir's purpose is two-fold, according to Katsouleas.

First, she said, it helps supply the city’s daily demand of potable water, blending imported water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and groundwater from two local wells, which is then pumped through the city’s distribution system.

The reservoir also acts an emergency storage in case of a catastrophe where the city might be cut off from outside sources of water, Katsouleas explained.

“This project represents one of the major infrastructure projects in our lifetimes (in Manhattan Beach). It’s important in terms of water reliability,” she said.

The replacement, which city engineers estimate will take between 16 and 20 months, will create a new reservoir capable of holding 8 million gallons of water and will be viable for at least the next 75 years, according to Senior Civil Engineer Gil Gamboa.

Gamboa said while the project is underway, there should be no impact on the Manhattan Beach water supply.

He explained the city’s second, smaller reservoir—known as Block 35—and two ground water wells should meet daily demand, but that Manhattan Beach has connections in other cities if the need for additional water arises.

“In case of emergency, we have connections in adjacent cities like El Segundo and with Cal Water in Redondo Beach,” Gamboa said.

The city has been preparing for the Peck Reservoir replacement, he said, since it was recommended as part of the 2010 water system master plan.

Gamboa explained the only new feature of the project is a water treatment facility.

“That facility will allow us to use more of our own groundwater supply as opposed to outside sources and keep up with changes in water quality regulations,” Gamboa said.

Other elements of the replacement project, he added, will include: a pump station control building, operations building and off-site pipeline trenchwork at Peck Avenue, 18th Street, 19th Street and Herrin Avenue. 

"We will keep construction traffic off of side streets," Gamboa said, noting the hauling route for construction materials during normal operations will be the 405 Freeway to Rosecrans Avenue to Aviation Boulevard to Marine Avenue to Peck Avenue.

A separate route—Peck Avenue to Manhattan Beach Boulevard to Inglewood Avenue to the 405 Freeway—will be used for refuse hauling during impacted operations, such as large concrete pours for the reservoir or other structures on the site, according to city documents.

Katsouleas said the city will not be conducting a full environmental impact report as the project will be a direct, "in-kind" replacement, but that project planners will do everything possible to mitigate negative impacts of the construction on the community.

“While we recognize construction can be disruptive, we are encouraging the community to have patience," said Katsouleas. "We want to stress that it is vitally important and the impact will be worth it for generations to come."

For more information about the project, visit https://www.citymb.info/departments/public-works/engineering-division/peck-reservoir-replacement-project

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