Placer County declares American River pump station project complete

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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The American River pump station project is officially completed. Directors of the Placer County Water Agency approved a notice of completion on Thursday, closing a 12-year logistical, construction and financing chapter and moving on to recreation challenges in a new one. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been overseeing construction of the pump station in the river canyon near Auburn for the past four years. The pump station has been in testing since late last year and is slated for full operation this spring. The board's action accepts the pump station into the water agency system for operation and maintenance, while outlining a few items described in a release by the water provider as minor and still being finalized. As well, the transfer of the land under the pump station is still pending at the federal level. The pump station's completion is considered by the agency as restoration of a missing link in its water delivery system. The agency's previous pump station was removed more than 30 years ago when the federal government planned to build the Auburn dam. The new facility will allow the Placer County Water Agency to pump up to 35,500 acre-feet of water a year to growing western Placer County. Director Otis Wollan, of Placer County's eastern District 5, said the bureau and state Department of Parks and Recreation are working on issues surrounding river use and public access through the pump station project site but are facing financial obstacles. Wollan attended a meeting last week on recreation use of the American River with District 3 Director Lowell Jarvis, city of Auburn officials and Protect American River Canyons President Tim Woodall.