-THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL- SUNDAY, MAY 2, 1993 — A-5 Coast water hook-up moratorium may end By CHRIS CALDER for The Journal The two-year-old moratorium on new water hook-ups in Fort Bragg could be lifted as early as mid-May, when state health officials are expected to sign off on a new permit allowing the city to expand its water system in exchange for setting up a permanent conservation program. City Administrator Gary Milliman said this week that the city will have to meet several conditions in order for the moratorium to be lifted. The water hook-up ban was imposed in spring 1991 by the state Department of Health Services which alleged that Fort Bragg's water supply could not keep pace with the city's growth. In order to end the ban, Fort Bragg's city government will have to continue working toward a new reservoir that could serve as the town's main water supply when the Noyo River drops during dry months. Also, the city will begin a water conservation "retrofitting" program, in which builders seeking water permits will have to install water-saving devices on an equal number of existing homes or businesses. Finally, city water consumption will have to stay below past use levels. The state had decreed that water use could not be more than it was during the 1991-92 water year, but city officials are trying to get a looser limit, perhaps one that would limit use only during dry summer months. This last condition could be a problem if current trends continue. Since heavy rains started in November, residential water use in Fort Bragg has risen an average of 30 percent over 1991. Mendocino considers equitable water fees By CHRIST1ANE MCLEES for The Journal Despite several years of verbal assurances to Mendocino residents that connection to a municipal water system would be voluntary, it is now being suggested that an assessment district might have to be formed to make the water system a reality. A slow response to the Mendocino City Community Service District's survey which asked property owners about their commitment to hook up to a water system, and a perceived financial inequity, prompted board member Jake Zahavi to propose recently that an assessment district would be the only way to make the system go. Out of the 353 surveys sent, 239 were returned. Of those 239, 143 property owners agreed to hook up and 96 said they wouldn't. Major complaints from commercial prop- ertyy owners who did respond to the survey included an inequity in water payments between commercial and residential customers. Future water rates are currently based on the number of "ESD's" an establishment has been assigned. The definition f tr an ESD is based on the water use of a single family dwelling, originally as 200 gallons per day, but later revised to 120 gallons per day. For commercial users, the number of ESDs was calculated based on commercial space as well as state and county water use standards. A large hotel, for instance, might be assigned 44 ESDs, for which it would be charged even if less water is being used. Zahavi cited some of the comments the district received from commercial property owners, which went from saying that the costs are "absurd" to "how can you charge me for 1,000 gallons, if I only use five?" "The ESD system is not equitable," Zahavi said. "The people who can make or break a water system won't join because of that ... The only way to get them to join, is to assess them." Zahavi suggested that a rate schedule should be based on water use. Community members who spoke to the issue included inn owners Barbara Reed and David Wells. Both supported the formation of an assessment district and agreed that the proposed rate schedule is not fair. Wells said his ESD assignment allows him to use 1,200 gallons of water per day, but he only uses 700 gallons. The board decided to ask its legal counsel, Jim Jackson, to compile information regarding the formation of an assessment district for the next meeting, at which time the board will further discuss the issue. In other matters, the board approved a sewer rate hike of 66 percent. Superintendent Richard Godinez explained that the rate increase had been necessary because the district was operating the sewer plant in violation of state provisions. Since the district had been and is the recipient of clean water grant monies, it must make sure that the operation and maintenance of the sewer plant is paid for by fees. Residential customers' bills will go from S7.40 a month to $12.30 a month. The $2.70 water sytem surcharge remains the same and will be added to the monthly bill. Also discussed at Monday night's meeting were the district's medical and vacation benefits. The district is currently employing one part-time person who Godinez would like to put on a permanent part-time status in order for the employee to have access to benefits. Zahavi wondered why the district was "looking into benefits" when other businesses and agencies were turning away from it. Board president Ed O'Brien said that offering benefits is good for peoples' work ethic. There will be more discussion on the issue. Quake pamphlet warns residents to be prepared 'On Shaky Ground' in today's Daily Journal Earthquakes shaking the North Coast are a fact of life. Humboldt State University Geology Professor Lori Dengler wants local residents to be prepared when the next one hits. The geologist has completed a 24-page earthquake preparedness booklet titled "On Shaky Ground: Living with Earthquakes on the North Coast." Produced at the Humboldt Earthquake Education Center at Humboldt State under Dengler's direction, the 100,000 booklets are scheduled to be widely distributed to area residents near the one-year anniversary of the April 25-26, 1992 Cape Mendocino Earthquakes. The Daily Journal will be distributing the handbook booklets in its Sunday issue. "With each earthquake there is an immediate wake-up call,",per^T, gler said. "The oqerv^^nnfver- sary is i"good opportunity to take advantage of this increased awareness to encourage everyone to take action for the next time." The four-color booklet is filled with useful information, explaining how to protect people and property when an earthquake hits and what to do afterward. There is advice for securing water heaters, strengthening building foundations, storing emergency supplies and developing a family emergency plan. Features unique to this booklet include how to secure wood stoves and above-ground propane tanks. "This is a serious problem in rural areas like the North Coast," Dengler said. "We found in our study of the April 1992 earthquakes that the wood stoves of more than half of the respondents in the epicenter area — Petrolia, Honeydew, Ferndale, Rio Dell and Scotia — slid during the' earthquakes. In a number of cases, they actually toppled over. Obviously there is a serious fire danger involved in this." The publication also contains scientific information, written in non-technical language, about earthquakes, with particular focus on the North Coast's fault lines. There are a number of graphic illustrations and a simplified map of Humboldt and Del Norte counties which illustrates how the ground responds to strong ground shaking. The first of the Cape Mendocino Earthquakes shook on April 25 at 11:06 a.m. and was centered on shore near Petrolia at a depth of approximately six miles. It registered a magnitude of 7.1 on the Richter scale. The earthquake caused a small tsunami wave which reached coastal communities along the North Coast within tens of minutes. "People need to know that within minutes of such an earthquake a tsunami wave can hit the beaches," Dengler said. The first earthquake triggered two more temblors offshore of Cape Mendocino which occurred in the early morning hours of April 26. The first one was 6.6 and the second 6.7 on the Richter scale. Extensive property damage, estir mated at $60 million, occurred, primarily in Petrolia, Femdale, Rio Dell, Scotia and Fortuna. The earthquakes caused a reported 356 injuries and destroyed 202 buildings. Funding for the printing and distribution of the booklets came primarily from two grants: ° ne f or $23,000 from the California Office of Emergency Services; and $10,000 from the United States Geological -Survey. PRESCRIPTION NOTES FROM: LARRY MYERS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE FACTS Hall of the Americans aged 65 or older have high Wood pressure. But, it can occur at almost any age. Hypertension is more common in men than women under the age of 50. After 55 it becomes more common in women, but more men die from hypertension due to complications. It is also a discriminatory disease. Statistics show that black Americans get high blood pressure earlier in life with higher levels, and twice as often. It also runs in families and is aggravated by too much salt. In the early stages, high blood pressure has no symptoms and 2 out of 3 people are unaware they have it. 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