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Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir

Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir Moving to Completion

The San Diego County Water Authority Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir project in North San Diego County reached a major milestone in late April when crews poured the concrete roof of the new prestressed concrete water tank. The major construction project, which began in March 2021, will improve drinking water supply reliability for the county.

The project began with the demolition of an abandoned steel tank, and includes construction of an isolation vault and an underground flow control facility, in addition to the new 2.1 million-gallon water tank connected to the Valley Center Pipeline. The project is expected to be completed by November 2022.

Improved flexibility with Hauck Mesa Reservoir

The new Hauck Mesa Storage Reservoir will increase operational flexibility by balancing the flow of treated water between the agency’s first and second aqueducts as well as ensure water deliveries can be maintained even if power supplies are interrupted.

The walls of the new tank are about 60 feet tall, will be stained a forest green color to blend in with the natural landscape, and are made of prestressed, or wire wrapped, concrete. Construction Manager Emma Ward-McNally said that the prestressed technology “will maintain the tank walls in permanent compression, allowing the tank to accommodate seismic events while remaining watertight.”

Next steps for the project include the wire wrapping of the water tank, applying green-tinted shotcrete to the tank walls, installation of mechanical components within the flow control facility, system commissioning, and paving of the project site and access road.

Asset management

Strategic infrastructure improvements by the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies are part of the regional effort to ensure continued delivery of water to support the region’s $240 billion economy and the quality of life for 3.3 million residents. As part of the asset management program, it is critical to actively replace and repair the Water Authority’s assets, which include pipes, valves, facilities, equipment, and other infrastructure.

The Water Authority will continue to work closely with the Valley Center community, Valley Center Municipal Water District, and nearby homeowners to minimize short-term construction impacts.

Replacement of Lake Wohlford Dam is ‘Shovel Ready’

The city of Escondido is moving forward with plans to replace the Lake Wohlford dam, a structure built of earth and rock that has stood at its present location since 1895.

Lake Wohlford is about 5 miles northeast of downtown Escondido, just beyond city limits in the unincorporated area of San Diego County, and the dam is owned by the city. The lake has long served the city both as a recreational asset for boaters and fishing enthusiasts, and as an emergency storage reservoir to supply drinking water in case of a drought.

Escondido Strengthens Water Treatment, Agriculture, and Recycling Industries

Escondido, which means “hidden” in Spanish, is working to further improve a few industries in one of the San Diego County’s oldest cities.

The City of Escondido is using a reverse osmosis plant to clean and treat water that will get sent to agriculture in San Diego’s north county.

They hope to continue treating the water so that in the future it becomes potable.

Wastewater Treatment Operator Featured As ‘Water Utility Hero’

Last week Escondido’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator, Carrie Selby was featured as the Water Utility Hero of the Week by the San Diego County Water Authority SDCWA. Shelby was interviewed for the Water News Network and talked about her career and work life during the pandemic.

East County AWP-Water Supply Projects-Water Recycling

San Diego Local Water Supply Projects Get Big Funding Boost

Two major water projects in San Diego County this week received a major financial boost to enhance the region’s water supply. The East County Advanced Water Purification Project was approved for up to $91.8 million and a project in the City of Escondido was approved for up to $23.4 million.

The San Diego County Water Authority has helped secure nearly $470 million for local supply projects in the past several months in collaboration with member agencies, including the total of $115 million for the East County and City of Escondido projects. Both projects will increase local water supply reliability and reduce future demands on imported water supplies.

Collaboration on water supply projects

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Board of Directors approved entering into funding agreements from its Local Resources Program for both projects. The Water Authority and its member agencies are able to participate in the Local Resources Program after a final court ruling found MWD had illegally barred the Water Authority from receiving money from MWD’s local water supply program, even though the Water Authority was forced to pay for it.

“Kudos to our member agencies for their strong applications and to MWD’s Board of Directors for approving them,” said Water Authority Board Chair Jim Madaffer. “It is an affirmation of our ongoing efforts to collaborate with MWD and to address shared challenges.”

Potable reuse project in East San Diego County

The East County AWP will be one of the first potable reuse projects in California to use new reservoir augmentation regulations. The program will meet up to 30% of East County’s drinking water demands, almost 13,000 acre-feet of water per year, and eliminate the discharge of 15 million gallons of partially treated wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

The AWP uses four advanced water purification steps to produce water that is near-distilled in quality. After treatment, purified water will be blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated again at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed as drinking water.

This program is a collaborative partnership between Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the County of San Diego, the City of El Cajon and Helix Water District.

Advanced water recycling in Escondido

The Membrane Filtration Reverse Osmosis Facility in Escondido would provide up to 3,280 acre-feet per year of advanced treated recycled water to irrigate farms.

The project includes the construction of an advanced recycled water treatment facility with microfiltration and reverse osmosis, new pipelines, and a storage and blending tank to convey water for agricultural irrigation. Source water for the project is treated recycled water from the Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility. Escondido will own and operate the project and plans to deliver water by 2023.

Regional water supply projects reduce reliance on imported water

In the past several months, the Water Authority has helped member agencies secure three other Local Resources Program agreements to fund water supply projects that increase local supply and reduce reliance on imported water. Those projects are:

  • $23.6 million for the Fallbrook Public Utilities District’s Fallbrook Groundwater Desalter Project
  • $42.7 million for the City of Oceanside Pure Water & Recycled Water Expansion Phase I Project
  • $285.6 million for the City of San Diego’s Pure Water North City Project

Deputy Mayor to Serve on San Diego County Water Authority

On Wednesday, May 27 the San Diego County Water Authority welcomed Escondido Deputy Mayor Consuelo Martinez as its newest board member. The deputy mayor was sworn into the role via a Zoom call from her office.

Escondido Employee Named California Laboratory Person of the Year

The California Water Environment Association has named of Escondido Water Quality Lab Associate Chemist, Oyuna Jenkins as their Laboratory Person of the Year. Jenkins plays a key role in the lab’s safety processes, which ensures a safe and reliable water supply for City customers. 

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.

Courting Grebes an Amazing Sight at Lake Hodges

It’s a tough gig being a western grebe during this water bird’s courtship season. To get noticed these birds must literally walk on water.

This elaborate courtship ritual, known as rushing, is now happening at Lake Hodges near Escondido where huge numbers of Clark’s and western grebes flock during the winter and spring breeding season.

North San Diego County fire agencies teamed up in November with the Vallecitos Water District for confined space training drills. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District Training Preps Firefighters for Wastewater Plant Emergencies

North San Diego County fire agencies teamed up in November with the Vallecitos Water District for confined space training drills. The drills, held over a two-week period, prepare firefighting professionals to respond to emergencies in facilities such as wastewater treatment plants and maintain their confined space certification.

The recent training took place at the Vallecitos Water District’s Meadowlark Reclamation Facility. Firefighters saw how the wastewater plant operates while getting a walk through of the facility. Fire personnel worked with Vallecitos staff and both groups benefited from the opportunity to understand each other’s equipment and protocols.

Meadowlark Wastewater Plant Supervisor Dawn McDougle led the confined space training with North County firefighting agencies on behalf of the Vallecitos Water District. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Meadowlark Wastewater Plant Supervisor Dawn McDougle led the confined space training with North County firefighting agencies on behalf of the Vallecitos Water District. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“The confined space training with the fire agencies has helped prepare us for future scenarios that could happen at the plant,” said Dawn McDougle, wastewater plant supervisor.

Video of the training drills conducted by the fire agencies and Vallecitos Water District.

The Meadowlark facility was chosen because it provided both vertical and horizontal confined spaces for training drills. McDougle suggested the facility storm wet well be used for the confined space exercise since it is relatively environmentally clean.

Collaboration results in more efficient response to emergencies

Firefighters are briefed on scene at the Meadowlark Reclamation Facility as part of confined space training drills conducted with the Vallecitos Water District. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Firefighters are briefed at the Meadowlark Reclamation Facility as part of confined space training drills conducted with the Vallecitos Water District. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Eight different fire agencies trained during morning or afternoon sessions, breaking up groups for various skill set station drills. Stations included an “Arizona vortex,” a new piece of equipment fire agencies use for rescues; a review of confined space rescue equipment; and training in confined space permit requirements. Confined space permits are required by OSHA before making any kind of confined space entry or rescue.

Meadowlark staff reviewed the conditions and possible actions within filter station space with fire crews. Staff also explained decision-making for confined space entry, and conditions they might encounter, such as chemical exposure, and lock-out/tag-out requirements.

A firefighter prepares to access the Meadowlark Reclamation Facility as part of confined space training drills conducted with the Vallecitos Water District. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

A firefighter prepares to access the Meadowlark Reclamation Facility as part of confined space training drills conducted with the Vallecitos Water District. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The training wrapped up with an all-hands mock confined space drill scenario at the Meadowlark storm wet well. Participants were required to respond to a simulated mechanical failure with a station pump, leaving Vallecitos staff “trapped” in a hole. First responders needed to “rescue” Vallecitos staff. Fire department personnel used the vortex system to rescue personnel trapped in the stormwater wet well. As part of the rescue scenario, fire teams incorporated Vallecitos staff involvement in the rescue mission.

Vallecitos wastewater collection crews also completed the confined space training with the firefighters.

Fire agencies were impressed with the staff and their operation of the Meadowlark Reclamation Facility. As a result of training, fire agencies can now respond more efficiently and with confidence.

“We appreciate the collaboration with fire agencies and the time they took to explain their procedures to Vallecitos District staff,” said McDougle. “We look forward to future training with the fire agencies.” 

Firefighting agencies participating in the training included crews from the cities of Carlsbad, San Marcos, Del Mar, Vista, Escondido, Oceanside, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Valley Center, and crews from North County Fire (Fallbrook), San Pasqual and Rincon.