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Carlsbad Desalination Plant-Building-WNN-primary-March 2020

COVID-19: Carlsbad Desal Plant Workers Shelter-in-Place to Keep the Water On

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused companies and organizations around San Diego County to take measures to continue serving the public.

As of Friday, 10 workers are quarantined inside the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plan for the next three weeks, monitoring and adjusting gauges and switches, watching for leaks, and doing whatever is needed to safeguard San Diego County’s only significant local source of drinking water.

COVID-19 pandemic prompts ‘extraordinary steps’

“We asked some employees to be locked down at the plant for 21 days to isolate the risk of infection,” said Gilad Cohen, CEO of IDE Americas, the global company that operates the Carlsbad plant and others around the world.

The request for volunteers was a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “mission critical” employees will work 12-hour shifts, sleep in rented recreational vehicles in the parking lot, and be resupplied with fresh food left for them at the plant’s gate. They will be furnished with washers and dryers to do their own laundry, and the desalination plant’s kitchen and cafeteria are available to them.

Read the rest of the story from The San Diego Union-Tribune here: https://bit.ly/2wz5pZd

The San Diego County Water Authority purchases up to 56,000 acre-feet of water from the Carlsbad plant per year – enough to serve approximately 400,000 people annually.

The plant is a major component of the Water Authority’s multi-decade strategy to diversify the county’s water supply portfolio and minimize vulnerability to drought or other water supply emergencies.

“While the on-site team shelters in place, a second team is remaining in isolation at home and fully prepared to take over plant operations should any situation arise that would necessitate a change in staffing or if the COVID-19 threat extends beyond 21 days,” according to a statement from Poseidon Water.

“Poseidon Water is working in close coordination with the San Diego County Water Authority, IDE Americas Inc. and the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water and will continue to evaluate the situation and take any necessary steps to ensure uninterrupted production and delivery of safe drinking water from the Carlsbad Desalination Plant.”

Ocean Protection Plan Charts Course for Defending California Coast

A new ocean protection plan sets out steps to safeguard California’s coast against rising seas, while shoring up public access and building coastal economies.

The Ocean Protection Council on Wednesday approved the Strategic Plan to Protect California’s Oceans, a five-year roadmap for navigating threats including climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity. The council, a policy body within the California Natural Resources Agency, wanted to distinguish the new plan from previous editions, by focusing on specific timelines and funding sources.

Water Board OKs $3.2M Live Oak Water Plant Land Purchase

CAPITOLA — A planned water recycling plant project took a leap forward this week after approval of a new land purchase.

The Soquel Creek Water District board voted unanimously Tuesday night to exercise its $3.2 million option to purchase nearly 2 acres of Live Oak light industrial property at the corner of Chanticleer and Soquel drives. The site at 2505 Chanticleer Ave. will be the future home of an advanced purification water plant, which the district’s dubs its Pure Water Soquel project.

Trump Vows More Water for Central Valley Farmers, Less for Fish. Can He Deliver?

As a cheering crowd of supporters watched, Trump signed a memo directing federal agencies to move ahead with relaxed endangered species protections that have curbed water deliveries to San Joaquin Valley agriculture and the urban Southland.

Gov. Gavin Newsom‘s administration said Wednesday that it would challenge the federal action in court.

California County Shuts Down Fifth of Water Wells Over PFAS

California wants to slash the allowable levels in drinking water for two “forever chemical” compounds, immediately prompting agencies supplying water to 2.5 million residents in Orange County to remove a fifth of their wells from service.

The State Water Resources Control board Thursday said it planned to dramatically lower its response levels for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), though actual drinking water standards are still years away.

The response levels require water suppliers to install treatment, and remove wells from service if they exceed the thresholds. Notifying customers is required if districts plan to keep wells in service without treatment for an extended period.

Orange County oversees the area’s groundwater basin and provides water to 19 agencies, which rely on underground supplies for 77% of deliveries. The remainder comes from the Colorado River and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which supplies water to 19 million people in the region.

New Treatment System to Bring Clean Drinking Water to Rural Community in California

Hillview Water in Raymond, California will begin delivering clean drinking water with the installment of a Microvi MNE nitrate treatment system by Microvi Biotech. Hillview Water serves a rural community that has been plagued with high levels of nitrate contamination for years.

Nitrate is one of the most widespread contaminants in groundwater globally and can have significant human health impacts.

Newsom Administration Trying Again for a River Flow Deal

The Newsom administration Tuesday floated a proposal to avert a protracted legal battle over new state standards that would make some of California’s biggest water users cut their river diversions to help struggling fish populations.

State officials see a settlement as the linchpin of administration water policies that have been bogged down in the perennial conflicts over the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a source of water for much of California and home to some of its most threatened native fish.

Escondido Water Quality Lab Leads by Example

California’s 600 certified water quality testing labs will face strict new accreditation standards in the near future. While final hearings still need to take place on the draft regulations before adoption, the City of Escondido Water Quality Lab isn’t waiting. Escondido is working now to adopt the anticipated regulations.

Escondido is one of only two California labs already compliant with the draft regulations, which require more stringent quality controls.

Laboratory Superintendent Nicki Branch (far left) and employees of the Escondido Water Quality Lab, one of only two certified labs in California under new standards. Photo: City of Escondido

Escondido Water Quality Lab Leads By Example

California’s 600 certified water quality testing labs will face strict new accreditation standards in the near future. While final hearings still need to take place on the draft regulations before adoption, the City of Escondido Water Quality Lab isn’t waiting. Escondido is working now to adopt the anticipated regulations.

Escondido is one of only two California labs already compliant with the draft regulations, which require more stringent quality controls.

The laboratory is certified by the California State Water Resources Control Board’s Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program to conduct 155 different certified test methods to ensure Escondido water and wastewater safety, including reclaimed water samples, stormwater samples, drinking water samples, wastewater from various stages throughout the treatment process, and industrial wastewater collected from permitted industries.

As part of compliance with the new standards, Laboratory Technician Ken Brown was promoted to the lab's Quality Assurance Officer. Photo: City of Escondido

As part of compliance with the new standards, Laboratory Technician Ken Brown was promoted to the lab’s Quality Assurance Officer. Photo: City of Escondido

City of Escondido Laboratory Superintendent Nicki Branch supervises the 13-person lab staff. She said the decision was made to work toward Environmental Lab Accreditation Program compliance right away rather than wait for formal implementation.

“We thought, this regulation is coming,” said Branch. “It’s going to be the law. Let’s just go ahead and comply with it now. Each water quality laboratory has to be certified by the state. Adding the [proposed] standards adds more quality assurance and quality control procedures for everything you do in the lab.”

Improved reporting of water quality testing

Damien Wong (left) and Michelle Sohn at work in the Escondido Water Quality Lab. Photo: City of Escondido

Damien Wong (left) and Michelle Sohn at work in the Escondido Water Quality Lab. Photo: City of Escondido

Branch said the standards implement more rigorous reporting, not new processes.

“It takes what we are doing now and makes the data more defensible,” she said. “We can show the chain of custody and verify our procedures, from sampling to analyzing to reporting. The process protects the integrity of the data.”

The proposed new requirements are based on 2016 standards developed by The NELAC Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting “the generation of environmental data of known and documented quality through an open, inclusive, and transparent process that is responsive to the needs of the community.”

Escondido staff share expertise with industry peers

Brett Kelley conducts a test in the City of Escondido Water Quality Lab. Photo: City of Escondido

Brett Kelley conducts a test in the City of Escondido Water Quality Lab. Photo: City of Escondido

Branch said it took a full year to implement the additional sampling and paperwork. Once the City of Escondido completed the process, she realized her team gained valuable insight other labs would need. She encouraged her staff to submit abstracts to speak on the proposed new regulations at the annual 2019 California Water Environment Association conference.

“We had five people speaking who had never made a presentation before,” said Branch. “I told them ‘You are now the experts.’”

Lab staff presentation at 2019 CWEA Tri-State Seminar

“We expect to give more presentations this year,” said Branch. “Labs will need to do this. We can help people, counsel them, and give them tips. People are apprehensive. It’s human nature. ‘No, not more regulation!’ But when you are a lab doing drinking water analysis, you want the lab to be that stringent and that accurate with quality assurance procedures.”

Personal pride in the achievement, improved teamwork, and sharing their new knowledge as subject matter experts were unexpected benefits.

Facts About California’s Water Legislation and What it Means for South Lake Tahoe

No, you’re not going be fined for taking a shower and doing laundry on the same day. A news story by a Los Angeles area television station and carried through the internet on New Year’s Day wrongly stated just that as an effect of upcoming water efficiency laws.

KTLA has since taken that story down, but not before people across the state shared it, stating each person in the state could only use 55 gallons of water a day before being fined starting January 1.