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Vallecitos WD Employee Ed Pedrazzi Recognized for Leadership

Vallecitos Water District Operations and Maintenance Manager Ed Pedrazzi is the ACWA 2023 “Excellence in Water Leadership” award winner. Pedrazzi received his career honor at the Association of California Water Agencies annual conference on May 9.

The award recognizes individuals who have “made a remarkable and visible contribution to the enhancement, protection, or development of water resources in California,” according to ACWA.

Helix Water District Upgrades Water Treatment, Saves Costs

A recent upgrade to a Helix Water District treatment plant saved money for its ratepayers while ensuring a continued supply of high quality drinking water. After 20 years of service, the ozone disinfection system at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant needed an upgrade.

Helix Water District SCADA/ Instrumentation/Electrical Technician Joshua Smith works on an ozone generator at the district’s R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant in Lakeside. Photo: Helix Water District

Helix Water District Upgrades Water Treatment, Saves Costs

A recent upgrade to a Helix Water District treatment plant saved money for its ratepayers while ensuring a continued supply of high quality drinking water.

After 20 years of service, the ozone disinfection system at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant needed an upgrade. The projected cost of outsourcing the work needed came to $3.5 million. Instead, Helix staff at the plant proposed doing the work themselves – and they did – saving an estimated 70% after the work was completed for $1.1 million.

“With infrastructure projects, we always start with two questions,” said Helix Water District General Manager Brian Olney. “Do we replace it or can we rehabilitate it? And, is it better to outsource the work or do it in-house? These two questions saved our customers millions of dollars this year and are a good example of how we continuously look for ways to save our customers money.”

The Helix Water District uses ozone generators to reduce the use of chlorine as a primary disinfectant. Ozone inactivates a wide range of microorganisms, needs little contact time with the water, and it eliminates most of the odor and taste issues some people associate with tap water. Photo: Helix Water DIstrict ozone disinfection

The Helix Water District uses ozone generators to reduce the use of chlorine as a primary disinfectant. Ozone inactivates a wide range of microorganisms, needs little contact time with the water, and it eliminates most of the odor and taste issues some people associate with tap water. Photo: Helix Water District

Ozone Disinfection and Drinking Water

Water treatment is a multi-step process. First, organic material suspended in the water is removed. Water is then disinfected to remove or inactivate harmful microscopic organisms. Finally, the water is filtered.

Chlorine is the most widely used disinfectant at conventional water treatment plants. The Helix Water District uses ozone as its primary disinfectant, supplemented with chlorine. Ozone inactivates a wide range of microorganisms, needs little contact time with the water, and it eliminates most of the odor and taste issues some people associate with tap water. This mix maintains the quality of the water while it makes its way through the water distribution system.

The treatment plant uses an ozone generator, which produces ozone by applying high amounts of electricity to oxygen gas. The oxygen molecules (O2) split and regroup as ozone (O3). The ozone gas then bubbles up through the water to inactivate any microorganisms present.

Upgrading ozone generators with new technology

Helix maintenance staff worked closely with the manufacturer of its original ozone system installed in 2002. The same manufacturer supplied new hardware and electrical components required for the upgrade. The ozone disinfection system includes the gas feed systems, generators, power supply units, and the instrumentation hardware and software controlling the system.

The project began with a proof-of-concept pilot project two years ago. Once the methods were tested, each of the three ozone generators was upgraded with the new technology, then tested and commissioned.

In addition to the 70% estimated cost savings from the upgrade project, the improved efficiencies of the ozone generators will produce long-term cost savings.

The ozone generators and their power supply units are now fully upgraded thanks to the efforts of the Helix team. The last phase of the project is the replacement of the computer control system, which is scheduled for 2024.

(Editor’s Note: The Helix Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the San Diego region.)

San Diego County Water Authority And its 24 Member Agencies

Pipeline 5 Will Return to Service After April 16 – 25 Work

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Pipeline 5 will be returned to full service after five months of rehabilitation work that runs from April 16 through April 25. The work is necessary to extend the useful life of critical water infrastructure that delivers reliable supplies for the region.

The Water Authority and its member agencies are coordinating to minimize impacts to residents and businesses, while servicing pipelines that are more than 65 years old.

First Aqueduct Maintenance Shutdown Feb. 27-March 8

The final shutdown for scheduled maintenance of the San Diego County Water Authority’s First Aqueduct started today, February 27. The shutdown will run through March 8, allowing crews to reline portions of the historic aqueduct and perform regular maintenance work that ensures a safe and reliable water supply for the region.

First Aqueduct Maintenance Shutdown Runs Feb. 27-March 8

The final shutdown for scheduled maintenance of the San Diego County Water Authority’s First Aqueduct is scheduled to begin February 27. The shutdown will run through March 8, allowing crews to reline portions of the historic aqueduct and perform regular maintenance work that ensures a safe and reliable water supply for the region. Portions of the First Aqueduct were shut down earlier this year for similar work, as part of a proactive approach to saving on future maintenance or replacement costs.

San Diego County Water Authority And its 24 Member Agencies

First Aqueduct Maintenance Shutdown Runs Feb. 27-March 8

February 22, 2023 – The final shutdown for scheduled maintenance of the San Diego County Water Authority’s First Aqueduct is scheduled to begin February 27. The shutdown will run through March 8, allowing crews to reline portions of the historic aqueduct and perform regular maintenance work that ensures a safe and reliable water supply for the region. Portions of the First Aqueduct were shut down earlier this year for similar work, as part of a proactive approach to saving on future maintenance or replacement costs.

shutdown season-First Aqueduct-maintenance shutdown

First Aqueduct Maintenance Shutdown Runs Feb. 27-March 8

(Editor’s Update: Work started Monday, February 27, as scheduled)

The final shutdown for scheduled maintenance of the San Diego County Water Authority’s First Aqueduct is scheduled to begin February 27. The shutdown will run through March 8, allowing crews to reline portions of the historic aqueduct and perform regular maintenance work that ensures a safe and reliable water supply for the region. Portions of the First Aqueduct were shut down earlier this year for similar work, as part of a proactive approach to saving on future maintenance or replacement costs.

The Water Authority and its member agencies are coordinating to minimize impacts to residents and businesses, while servicing pipelines that are more than 65 years old.

Customers of these affected retail agencies during the final planned shutdown should check with their local water utility if they have questions about localized impacts: Fallbrook Public Utility District, Rainbow Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, Vallecitos Water District, Valley Center Municipal Water District, Vista Irrigation District, Helix Water District, Yuima Municipal Water District, and the cities of San Diego, Poway and Ramona.

“Taking care of this critical infrastructure during the shutdown season extends the life of the First Aqueduct and helps to avoid both water emergencies and the high costs of emergency work,” said Eva Plajzer, the Water Authority’s director of operations and maintenance. “Maintaining our water delivery system in coordination with our member agencies ensures the continued safe and reliable supply that serves the region’s 3.3 million residents and our $268 billion economy.”

Maintenance work on pipelines is scheduled during low-demand periods to minimize impacts on water service.

The historic First Aqueduct was constructed in the 1940s (Pipeline 1) and in the 1950s (Pipeline 2). On November 28, 1947, the first Colorado River water flowed south from Riverside County for 71 miles into the City of San Diego’s San Vicente Reservoir via the First Aqueduct.

The Water Authority’s Asset Management Program is a key element of providing safe and reliable water supplies to the region. The agency continually assesses and inspects its 310 miles of large-diameter pipelines, which provide treated and untreated water to 24 member agencies in San Diego County. The program is widely recognized for pioneering work, including a patented inspection device.

As assets age, the Water Authority proactively replaces and repairs them to minimize impacts to member agencies and the public. Investments in the latest inspection technologies – including electromagnetic scanning, robotic inspections and 3D tunnel inspections – help the Water Authority’s asset management team detect defects in pipelines and related facilities.

(Editor’s Note: The Fallbrook Public Utility District, Rainbow Municipal Water District, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, Vallecitos Water District, Valley Center Municipal Water District, Vista Irrigation District, Yuima Municipal Water District, Helix Water District, Ramona Municipal Water District, and the cities of San Diego and Poway, are 11 of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Celebrating 79 Years of Engineering at the San Diego County Water Authority

The San Diego County Water Authority is celebrating National Engineers Week by highlighting how the agency’s engineers are instrumental in keeping the water flowing to San Diegans. Since the Water Authority’s formation in 1944, engineers have played a pivotal role in the establishment and growth of the agency and its commitment to delivering safe, reliable water supplies to San Diego.

(Editor’s Note: Founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers, National Engineers Week (February 19–25, 2023) is dedicated to ensuring a diverse and well-educated future engineering workforce by increasing understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers.)

Annual Leak Detection Program Gets Underway in Otay Water District

As part of its annual preventative maintenance program to safeguard its water supply and reduce water loss, the Otay Water District will conduct leak inspections of its pipeline system beginning January 30. Inspections are expected to continue until April 28.