Sweetwater Authority is proud to provide water to the thriving South County community. We continually look for ways to better serve the community, including ways to partner with developers to build the infrastructure needed to keep South County vibrant.
In February 2020, the Governing Board adopted Resolution 20-04, which established guidelines for staff communication with developer customers to ensure the best possible service.
Application for a new, upgrade, or modification to an existing water service from Sweetwater Authority (Authority) is required when:
- Requesting the installation of a new water meter and service lateral
- Adding square footage to a home, business, or other building
- Constructing single family dwellings, multi-unit apartments, or structures that require water or fire protection
- Requesting abandonment, modification or relocation of an existing water meter
- Adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) or additional residential units
- Changing water use type (e.g. irrigation, domestic, fire protection)
- Changing business type (for commercial accounts, e.g. retail to restaurant, etc.)
- Constructing tenant improvements
- 1. Starting Your Project
- 2. Design Review
- 3. Construction of Water Facilities
- 4. Payment Reconciliation Process
The Developer (owner or authorized agent to act on behalf of the owner) shall contact Sweetwater Authority at (619) 420-1413, or through this online form and submit project information. The typical project submittal, review, approval and construction process is provided in the Authority’s Water Service Application Guide (PDF).
The design, review, and approval process for a project shall typically be processed as follows:
- Developer presents project location and information such as a Required Agency Clearance Form, Mapping, Grading, Street improvement, Building or Fire Protection plans, or a defined scope of work (e.g. moving a service lateral, adding an additional water service to serve existing irrigation or an existing second unit). Following submittal of the project information, and Authority technician is assigned to the Developer’s project.
- Project submittals are preferred to be provided to the Authority in Adobe PDF documents via email. When project submittals are greater than 5 MB, the Authority will provide a Sendit, large e-file transfer request to the Developer. Hard copies of project submittals are also acceptable.
- Based on the type and size of the project, the Authority may continue to process the design, review, and approval of the project without the collection of a deposit to cover Authority design review and processing costs. Depending on the type and size of the project, a Design Requirement Letter (see PDF examples here and here), which provides the Developer’s acknowledgement of the Authority’s design requirements, and includes a deposit to cover Authority review and processing efforts, may be required. Please see the Developer Checklist (PDF) for the Authority’s engineering department’s typical design review deposit requirements.
- Payment for the design review can be made by cash, up to $3,000, check payable to “Sweetwater Authority” or through the CardX on-line at the Developer Payment Portal.
Sweetwater Authority performs its design review to ensure compliance with the Authority’s Rates & Rules (PDF), Design Standards (PDF) and Construction Standards. Listed below is the Authority’s typical review process for a project:
- The Authority typically begins its review following receipt of a defined scope of work, a project’s Required Agency Clearance Form (RACF) with associated building plans, or receipt of a copy of plans for the lead jurisdictional agency. Preliminary plans that are also under lead agency jurisdictional review are acceptable.
- The Authority will review the required fire protection requirements as stated on the plans, or letter issued by the local fire jurisdiction indicating the gallons of water per minute required for the project. The Authority will reply to the fire protection requirements in a design review letter or a letter issued to the Developer or local fire agency as applicable. Please note, the Authority’s current distribution system may not be able to deliver the water, as required by the local fire agency, at certain locations. It is critical that Authority staff analyze the capacity of the existing distribution system against the fire flow requirements. Substantial water facility upgrades, at the developer’s cost, may be required.
- For RACF, the Authority performs a cursory review of the plans, currently under jurisdictional review, and drafts a conditions (PDF) for the project, signs the RACF and returns it to the developer with attached conditions as applicable for their continued jurisdictional processing. As plans develop, the Developer will be required to submit jurisdictional approval plans and adhere to the Authority’s Rates and Rules. RACF are typically processed within five working days.
- For all other plans submittals, the Authority reviews the plans for compliance with its Rates and Rules, Design and Construction Standards and will formally respond to a Developer with a Design Review letter. The letter includes Authority design review comments, requested revisions, and may include plans with Authority markings (PDF). The Authority typically responds to each project plan submittal within three weeks of receipt.
- The review process typically requires three iterations of plan submittals. For larger projects, such as a subdivision, more review iterations are likely.
- Once plans are reviewed and approved, the Authority will issue a Design review letter informing the developer of its acceptance of the plans as submitted.
- Following acceptance of plans, the Authority will request the Developer to provide the location of the proposed water facilities, typically by painting a white “W” at the face of the curb, or edge of street when no curb is present. In some cases, a Professionally Licensed land surveyor’s cut sheet is applicable. Once painted, or information is provided, the Authority will begin processing a cost estimate for the project, that typically takes 3-4 weeks to develop. The cost estimate is the basis of cost, or overall value of the project independent of who will perform the water facility work.
Following the design, review, estimate and approval process, the Developer will be asked if they intend to perform construction, have a sub-contractor perform construction of the public water facility work, or have the Authority perform the work.
Construction of water facilities shall be performed entirely by the Authority or the Developer as follows:
- If the Developer elects to have the Authority install the water facilities, the Authority shall transmit a Fees and Deposits letter (PDF) to the Developer, which includes the project’s applicable fees, credits, and deposit requirement for the full estimated cost of installation of the proposed water facilities. The required deposits are based on construction estimates and may vary based on site conditions. Upon completion of construction, total costs will be tabulated and the Applicant will be refunded excess deposits or billed for additional costs, as applicable.
- If the Developer installs, or elects to have its subcontractor install, the proposed water facilities, the Developer shall be required to enter into an Agreement to Improve Development (PDF) – Water Facilities (Agreement) and comply with Items 3-6, below.
- Prior to drafting the Agreement, the Developer shall submit the name of the subcontractor who will install the water facilities. The Developer or its subcontractor shall submit a Contractor’s Information and Experience Form (PDF), demonstrating the Developer’s qualifications to perform public water utility construction work. In the event that the requesting Developer or its subcontractor cannot demonstrate minimum qualifications, the Authority may reject the Developer or its selected subcontractor.
- Prior to the Developer (directly or through a subcontractor) performing the water facility installation, the Authority will require submittal and approval of Certificates of Insurances that comply with the minimum insurance requirements as stated in Exhibit D (PDF).
- Prior to the Developer (directly or through a subcontractor) performing the water facility installation, the Authority will require with the Agreement both Payment and Performance Bonds (PDF) for 100 percent of the estimated construction cost.
- In the event of failure of any facilities installed by the Applicant within a one (1)-year warranty period, the Authority will notify the Developer and its subcontractor, if applicable, to initiate repair of the affected facilities within five (5) working days. Failure to respond within five (5) working days after notification will result in the Authority performing all repairs and the Developer being invoiced for all labor, overhead, and material costs incurred in making repairs. However, if the Authority determines that immediate repairs are warranted, the Authority may elect to make the repairs and invoice the Developer without notification. The Authority will require two (2) names and phone numbers of responsible personnel to be contacted during an emergency.
Upon completion of water facility work, and acceptance by the Authority and lead jurisdictional agency, a final billing or refund based on a final compilation of actual costs will be provided to the depositor.
The payment reconciliation process shall typically be performed as follows:
- Following the construction and installation of water facilities, a Project Closing Update Letter (PDF) shall be provided to the Developer. The letter will indicate work is complete, and notify the developer of any unanticipated change orders that may be associated with the project that could result in additional cost for the project.
- The Authority will continue to process work and inspection for any pavement rehabilitation required. If work is performed by the Authority, paving activities will be coordinated with the Developer and are typically completed within 4 weeks of construction.
- Following pavement rehabilitation, inspection, and acceptance of the project’s construction, the Authority will tabulate cost and issue a final billing in a Project Deficit Letter (PDF), or refund in a Project Refund Letter (PDF), as appropriate.