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San Marcos Interceptor Project Ready for Phase 2 Summer Start

The San Marcos Interceptor Replacement Project remains on schedule, with Phases 1 and 1A completed according to the Vallecitos Water District. The project replaces the District’s 1960s era 21-inch diameter sewer interceptor with more than 12,000-feet of 42-inch diameter sewer pipeline between Twin Oaks Valley Road and Pacific Street.

Volunteers Offer Birds Eye View at South Lake Reservoir

For decades, it was a source of drinking water for the San Marcos area. Today, the South Lake Reservoir has new life as a local wildlife habitat.

South Lake was built with an earthen dam and provided drinking water to the Lake San Marcos area, most of downtown San Marcos, and the Coronado Hills area. Updates to potable water treatment had detrimental effects on the lake ecology, so the Vallecitos Water District stopped using the lake as a drinking water source in 1984, although it remained an emergency water supply for another decade.

Community Outreach Makes Challenging Infrastructure Update a ‘Walk in the Park’

In its efforts to maintain its critical infrastructure, the Vallecitos Water District undertook a challenging update to a wastewater system pipeline constrained by its precarious location.

Construction near San Marcos homes required creative thinking and community cooperation from the Vallecitos Water District to successfully complete the project. infrastructure

Community Outreach Makes Challenging Infrastructure Update a ‘Walk in the Park’

In its efforts to maintain its critical infrastructure, the Vallecitos Water District undertook a challenging update to a wastewater system pipeline constrained by its precarious location.

The existing eight-inch gravity sewer pipeline conveys wastewater from the intersection of Rock Springs Road and Bennett Avenue west through a greenbelt area to an existing 12-inch pipeline in Rock Springs Road at Lancer Park Avenue. To expand capacity for current and future growth, it was replaced with a new 15-inch PVC pipe west of Matthew Lane and a 12-inch PVC pipe north and east of Matthew Lane.

See video following the progress of this vital infrastructure project

 

Complications due to environmental and neighborhood protection

The location of the affected manhole put equipment and crews close to a SDG&E gas line inside a greenbelt park area. Photo: Vallecitos WD infrastructure

The location of the affected manhole put equipment and crews close to a SDG&E gas line inside a greenbelt park area. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

The District always prefers to perform work in a street or public right-of-way. Neither were possible for this project due to its greenbelt and park location within feet of residential homes.

“We took every environmental precaution prior to construction,” said Lito Santos, Vallecitos Water District Project Engineer. “We performed a nesting survey, a raptor survey, and we also worked to tunnel under the bridge,” within the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clear Water Rule.”

San Marcos Woods Homeowners Association board member Ross Fisher acted as a liaison between homeowners and the HOA with the District. Fisher expressed concern about access to the work area by the District’s large combination truck. The original proposal to create a concrete strip to drive over wasn’t feasible.

Due to its incredible strength, the grass-crete and existing lawns can handle the weight of a large service vehicle driving on it without significant damage. Photo: Vallecitos WD

Due to its incredible strength, the grass-crete and existing lawns can handle the weight of a large service vehicle driving on it without significant damage. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Working together with Vallecitos Water District engineers, the group chose an alternative material called “grass-crete.” Grass-crete is a green porous paving solution that comes in easy-to-install rolls. It’s flexible, lightweight, durable and provides design versatility to the project. Due to its incredible strength, the grass-crete and existing lawns can handle the weight of a large service vehicle driving on it without significant damage.

Proximity to additional threats

Manholes were waterproofed, coated, and sealed as an additional precaution and to extend their longevity.

Manholes were waterproofed, coated, and sealed as an additional precaution and to extend their longevity. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

Vallecitos Water District engineers also worked with San Diego Gas & Electric to perform its work with enough safety clearance from a 16-inch transmission main artery gas line pressurized at 800 pounds per square inch. The District secured permission to dig within two to three feet from the line instead of the standard five feet.

The work area is also prone to flooding after large rain events, raising the water levels in the nearby creek high enough to infiltrate and inflow into the manholes. The District moved the manholes clear of the creek embankment, and lifted the manholes two feet above ground and clear of the flood plain to prevent runoff intrusion. Manholes were waterproofed, coated, and sealed as an additional precaution and to extend their longevity.

Homeowners praise Vallecitos cooperation with community

 The District moved the manholes clear of the creek embankment, and lifted the manholes two feet above ground and clear of the flood plain to prevent runoff intrusion.

The District moved the manholes clear of the creek embankment, and lifted the manholes two feet above ground and clear of the flood plain to prevent runoff intrusion. Photo: Vallecitos Water District

“Overall Vallecitos left the greenbelt area as good or better when they started,” said Fisher of the HOA. “On a scale of one to ten, I have to give them a 9.5 or a ten. Working with the inspectors and Lito Santos the engineer, everything we asked for was done in a timely manner.”

“The project was a huge success,” said Santos. “Working with the Vallecitos Engineering Team, the Inspection Team and Mr. Fischer, it was not just a Vallecitos highlight but a career highlight.”

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The California Water Environment Association of San Diego recognized Vallecitos Water District wastewater treatment plant supervisor Dawn McDougle as its 2018 Supervisor of the Year. Photo: Courtesy VWD

Vallecitos Supervisor Honored for 28 Years of Environmental Protection

From her first day on the job at Vallecitos Water District in 1988, Dawn McDougle knew that she wanted to finish her career at the San Marcos-based water agency.

Her dedication, innovation, and commitment to the community have paid off in many ways over the decades. In January, they brought McDougle to the forefront of the region’s water industry when the California Water Environment Association of San Diego recognized her as Supervisor of the Year for her career of excellence, safety and protecting the environment.

McDougle started at Vallecitos as an industrial waste technician at a time when few women performed this work. She advanced her career by taking classes and earning certifications – and she helped others by mentoring and coaching them along the way. In 2002, McDougle was promoted to wastewater treatment plant supervisor.

Career Accomplishments Benefit the Community

Over the past 16 years, McDougle played a major role in the operation and management of the Meadowlark Reclamation Facility – recognized in 2009 with an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

“It’s been an awesome road with the Vallecitos Water District, and I am always going to be grateful to say I spent my career here and achieved all the goals I wanted to achieve,” said MdDougle.

McDougle’s tenure at Meadowlark included the recent completion of a $30 million expansion to an important part of Vallecitos’ water supply program that reduces demand on imported water supplies for northern San Diego County. The facility produces recycled water for golf courses at La Costa and the Four Seasons Resort Aviara in Carlsbad, several school sites, Legoland and the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

McDougle masterminded the use of new process units that extended the useful life of the Meadowlark plant well beyond 2030. With many constraints along the way, she kept the existing plant operating while constructing a new plant and meeting the plant expansion output goal of 5 million gallons per day.

McDougle’s staff at Meadowlark praise her extensive knowledge, her leadership, and her generosity in passing on her knowledge to others. “Dawn gave me an opportunity … She’s been great, she shows me what I have to do in order to be a successful operator. She’s top notch in this industry,” said Fernando Mata, Plant Operator.

The Meadowlark facility is visited frequently by students and ratepayers, because it provides an excellent opportunity to see how wastewater is converted to a valuable resource. Vallecitos developed successful outreach programs with McDougle’s guidance, including the California Water Environment Association “Wake up to Wastewater” tour, and the district’s award-winning Water Academy tour.

During the Water Academy tour, McDougle highlights how the district plays an integral role in protecting the environment through water reuse. It showcases an industry leader, who has spent her career making sure the district’s facilities live up to their promise.