Frequently Asked Questions

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About Your Water

The District does not add fluoride to its water supply. Only a small amount of naturally occurring fluoride, well below the maximum contaminant level of 1.4 - 2.4 mg/L set by the California Department of Public Health, has been detected in the District's water supply.

Water pumped from the aquifers can be very warm, especially from the deep wells. Water from these wells is aerated and cooled before entering the distribution system.

The rotten egg odor is caused by hydrogen sulfide gas. Although the smell may be unpleasant, the gas is not harmful at the low concentrations found in the District's water supply. Hydrogen sulfide results from a chemical or biological reaction between naturally occurring sulfur and non-harmful bacteria, which is found in most water supplies, and/or electrons generated from water heater anodes. The District's chlorination, aeration and blending processes help reduce the gas. For more information, download the Does Your Water Smell Like Rotten Eggs? brochure.

Water hardness is the result of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, naturally occurring in water supplies. Hardness affects the ability of water to form suds or lather. Hard water requires more soap because the soap first reacts with the calcium and magnesium before it can lather. Water with less than 75 mg/L of calcium carbonate hardness is considered soft and water with 75 mg/L or more is considered hard. Marina's water hardness ranges from 17 to 270 mg/L, or from soft to hard.

The hardness of water varies with the water's source. It's an aesthetic choice to buy a water softener, because hard water isn't harmful to the health. However, people with low-sodium diets should be aware that many water softeners increase the sodium content in the water.

Sand naturally occurs in bedrock fractures and sometimes finds it way into the District's water supply when there has been exceptionally high flows, such as those caused when fire hydrants are used, a main breaks or there is construction on the water system. Periodic flushing of the water mains and the lateral lines leading from your house usually corrects the problem.

Air forced into the distribution system creates the pressure needed to move water through the pipes. This can result in air bubbles that make tap water appear cloudy or milky. However, the bubbles usually dissipate quickly.

Naturally occurring organics and metals, like manganese or iron, usually cause colored water. Such substances typically do not pose a health hazard, but the District requests that you report any instances of colored water so that it can be investigated.

Usually colored particles in drinking water indicate the dip tube in your hot water heater is disintegrating. The majority of water heaters made in the 1990s utilized a dip tube made of plastic, which breaks down. When this happens, the dip tube needs to be replaced. Contact the manufacturer to get the best information on replacement. A plumber can flush the hot water heater and replace the sacrificial anode at the same time.

Billing / Customer Service

Bills may be paid by mail with the return envelope (addressed to Marina Coast Water District, Dept LA23031, Pasadena, CA 91185-3031), which is included with your bill. You may also pay at the Rabobank branch located at 228-C Reservation Road; or, you can bring your payment to the District office during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday). We have a drop box for after hours, located next to the front door. Bills can also be paid online with a Master Card or Visa, or automatically from your bank account (see Electronic Bill Payment below). If you need help setting up an online account please call us at 384-6131.

HCF stands for "hundred cubic feet." Your monthly consumption is measured and billed in HCF increments. 100 cu. ft. (HCF) = 748 gallons of water.

You receive two sewer bills because two entities are involved: The District is responsible for the collection of wastewater and the maintenance of the sewer system (this fee appears on your monthly bill), and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency (MRWPCA) is responsible for pumping the wastewater from Marina to the regional treatment plant and treating the wastewater (this fee is billed by MRWPCA every two months). Currently, MRWPCA charges both Central Marina and Ord Community customers $21.50 every two months. (Ord Community customers receive a separate bill from MRWPCA).

Your bill is due and payable upon receipt. If payment is made after the final due date, appearing at the bottom of your bill, a late charge is applied. Bills are delinquent after 30 days from the date of service.

Your bill may reflect various adjustments and balances. A minus sign indicates that you have a credit balance, and you do not need to make a payment.

A late charge indicates that you have a balance from a prior period. A city utility tax of 5 % is assessed on all accounts (the code appears as "TX" on your bill). A one-time deposit of $35 is charged for new service. This deposit is credited to your account after one year of good payment history, or it will be reimbursed if the account is closed within that time.

If you sign up for the Electronic Bill Payment service, moneys will be automatically transferred from your bank account and applied to your District account on the day payment is due.

There is no charge for the program. And, it's convenient—you won't have to pay check fees, buy stamps or make a trip to the mailbox.

Companies have used the program successfully across the country. Each transfer is handled as safely and accurately as if you wrote the check yourself.

Simply fill out an Authorization Form, attach a voided copy of your check and mail the form and the check to our office. The initial set-up process will take approximately one billing period for Electronic Bill Payment to take effect. You can also pick up a form from our office.

The District accepts credit cards at the office or over the phone. You may also use your credit card when you pay online.

A District Ordinance states that customers must come into the office to sign up for service and pay a deposit. It's a District policy that delinquent notices must be paid in person, as well as payment arrangements for outstanding balances.

Conservation

Since 1945, the amount of water pumped from the aquifers beneath Marina has exceeded the amount that is being naturally replenished by rainfall. Consequently, saltwater has seeped into, or intruded, the District's top two aquifers—180 feet and 400 feet below the ground—and created the need to drill and draw from deeper wells. Ground water contaminated by seawater is unfit to drink or use for agricultural irrigation. Currently, the ground water drawn from the deep aquifers has not shown signs of seawater intrusion. In the Ord Community, the District's wells are in the top two aquifers and are threatened by approaching seawater intrusion. In the future, the Ord Community's wells will need to be modified or replaced. These costs have been included in the Ord Community water system capital budget. Because of our diminishing supply of water, it is important for everyone to conserve and support measures that discourage saltwater intrusion.

The District offers rebates of up to $125 for retrofitting older toilets with single or dual-flush toilets having a flush volume of 1.3 gallons or less. To qualify, bring your original receipt to the District office, complete the Toilet Rebate request and schedule an inspection.

Many homes in Marina have 3.5-gallon toilets. The average toilet is flushed over seven times every day. A 1.3-gallon toilet uses approximately 5,000 gallons less water per year than a 3.5-gallon toilet. For the average single family home, that would be a savings of over 18,000 gallons per year.

Ord Community Customers

In 1997, the Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) selected the District from many other districts to operate the former Fort Ord water and wastewater collection systems on an interim basis. The conveyance process was completed in October 2001 when the Army transferred the deeds to FORA, which, in turn, transferred the property to the District. The transfer was at no cost to the District.

The criteria for establishing monthly water and wastewater collection rates was documented in an agreement between FORA and the District. Monthly water service rates include a monthly base, or meter charge (currently $28.96 for a ¾ inch meter), and an amount for each unit of water (1 unit = 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons). To encourage conservation, the more water a customer uses the more the monthly water charge will be. Customers using from 1 to 8 units of water each month pay $2.22 per unit. Customers who use between 9 units to 16 units of water each month pay $3.40 per unit above 8. For each unit above 16, the unit charge increases to $4.59 per unit. For example, a residence using 13 units of water in a month will charged $63.72 ($28.96 + [8 x $2.22] + [5 x $3.40]). The monthly residential wastewater collection charge is a flat amount determined by dividing the annual wastewater collection system budgets (operating and capital) by the number of equivalent residential units. The current monthly charge is $26.49.

In 2005, the District joined the Ord Community and Central Marina water systems together enabling each other's infrastructure to be used in the event of emergency. While the interconnection has improved the overall reliability and efficiency for both systems, the operating and capital costs for the Ord Community and Central Marina are tracked and assessed separately.

There are several reasons for the rate discrepancy. First, the District inherited an aging wastewater collection system and lift stations that needed repair or replacement. The Ord Community has 742,700 feet (141 miles) and 23 lift stations, compared to Central Marina that has only 198,900 feet (38 miles) of sewer lines and four lift stations. The Ord Community's system needs to be operated in its entirety, because people live and work throughout most of the area. Compared to water, which has a variable cost—the more water needed, the more water is pumped with associated increasing operating costs—wastewater collection has a fixed cost that must be borne by the relatively few customers currently living in Ord Community. As more people populate the area, the per unit monthly wastewater collection rates are expected to decrease, but that might take many years.

Not yet. While non-residential water customers are now being metered, Presidio of Monterey Annex and CSUMB residential customers will be metered over the next two years. Until water meters are installed on residences, customers will be charged a flat monthly water charge—currently $98.36 per month. The Army and CSUMB have committed their support to the installation of residential water meters so that customers are only charged for the amount of water they use.

All District customers in Central Marina have made a deposit to initiate water service. Their deposits are returned upon leaving if their account is current. Residents living in the Ord Community at the time the District began operations in 2001 were not required to make a deposit. However, new residents moving into area are required to make a deposit.

As in Central Marina, the District has implemented a comprehensive conservation program for the Ord Community aimed at reducing water waste and discouraging water consumption in order to sustain the District's primary source of water—groundwater from the Salinas Basin. The program combines education, incentives and penalties for water waste. The District also employs a full-time water conservation specialist to support customers in their conservation efforts.

The District

By joining MCWRA's Zones 2 and 2A, the District was able to participate in the management of the water in the Salinas Valley Basin, the source of the District's groundwater. MCWRA is responsible for developing plans that deal with the problems of overpumping and seawater intrusion. Since the District is affected by water use in the Salinas Valley, the District needed to participate in those decisions.

There are numerous ways to contact and communicate with the District:
Mailing Address: 11 Reservation Road, Marina, CA 93933
Telephone: (831)384-6131
Web site: http://www.mcwd.org
E-mail: mcwd@mcwd.org

The Board holds public meetings every third Monday of the month at the Marina City Council Chambers, 211 Hillcrest Avenue, Marina.

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