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San Diego County is requesting bids from private contractors to reduce uranium levels found in drinking water at wells supplying the Campo Hills development in the East County community of Campo to safe levels.

The 221-unit development was built beginning in 2004, and homes in the community originally sold for $375,000-$430,000, though a local real estate agent blogged last year that asking prices have since fallen as low as $99,000.

Water tests from April 2005 found levels of uranium exceeding federal standards for drinking water at all three wells supplying the community. The county currently states that the water supply has an “average uranium concentration of 30-50 pCi/L(picoCuries per Liter), which exceeds the maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 20 pCi/L.”

A successful bidder on the contract would be required to operate uranium extraction equipment at the site installed in 2004, as well as conduct monthly water tests and provide an emergency response team to be available within 24 hours of a request for service.

The contract leaves the determination as to whether the project constitutes a “public work” to bidders on the project, outsourcing responsibility for deciding whether workers would be entitled to receive prevailing wages.

Bids are due by June 19, with the initial five-year contract period for the winning bidder to commence July 1. The county will retain an additional five one-year extension options.

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