RICHMOND -- Incumbents Fred Granzella and Michael Caine retained their seats Tuesday on the West County Wastewater District board.

With most precincts reporting, Granzella had 41.5 percent of the vote and Caine 36 percent. Challenger Sharon Thygesen trailed with 21.8 percent.

West County Wastewater provides wastewater collection and treatment for San Pablo, parts of Richmond and Pinole, El Sobrante, Rollingwood, North Richmond, East Richmond Heights, Montalvin Manor and Tara Hills.

The election was held amid the backdrop of contentious labor negotiations between the agency and its 50 union employees.

"The capital improvement projects are part of a business plan that has been in force for a long time," Granzella said Tuesday night. "We're well-managed. We're not going to go out and spend money we don't have."

Before the election, Granzella said he's also proud of the district's low rates, although they are subsidized by a $304-per-parcel property-tax increment.

Fellow incumbent Caine appeared headed for a second full term. He was elected in 2008 after being appointed to fill a vacancy on the board in 2006.

"We're going to be spending a lot of money on capital improvements, and we're going to be spending that money wisely," Caine said Tuesday night. "We're hopefully going to do everything we can to put the contentious labor negotiations behind us and move forward.

"There's going to be some major plant renovations at the treatment plant, and we're going to be spending a lot of money upgrading a lot of facilities and collections systems. Protecting the environment is job No. 1 for us."

Before the election, Caine agreed with Granzella that the district's biggest challenge is keeping up with employee pension and retiree health care benefits.

He would also like to help the district's planned infrastructure upgrade.

Caine cited his background in finance, having been a sales controller for Constellation Brands, the largest premium wine producer in the world, where he managed a $20 million budget for his region.

Thygesen, a 30-year El Sobrante resident, said she would bring an open mind and clean slate to the board if elected.

She said she got the urge to become more involved in local politics after joining the El Sobrante Municipal Advisory Council.

Thygesen said she manages a $9 million budget in her job as an information technology manager for a local government agency.