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Sweetwater Authority Awards Grant to Promote Water Efficiency and Education

Chula Vista, Calif. – On Wednesday, September 9, the Sweetwater Authority Governing Board received a presentation from A Reason To Survive on how grant funding from the Authority will be used to educate the community on water issues.

Sweetwater Authority Wins Statewide Award for Hydro Station Education Experience

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board on July 22 was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. The water agency received the award earlier this month for its innovative communication for the Hydro Station Education Experience.

The Sweetwater Authority received CAPIO's EPIC Award earlier this month for its innovative communication for the Hydro Station Education Experience. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District Win Statewide Award for Hydro Station Education Experience

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board on July 22 was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. As a collaborative project with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Sweetwater Authority and the Otay Water District received the award from CAPIO earlier this month for innovative communications for the Hydro Station Education Experience.

The Hydro Station at Sweetwater’s Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility,  hosts learning exhibits and hands-on activities to introduce 4,000 local students annually to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. The Hydro Station is made possible through a partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, Chula Vista Elementary School District, and the Otay Water District.

Hydro Station Education Experience opened in August 2019

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their first visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

“It is exciting to be on a Board that values the importance of strategic partnerships,” said Governing Board Chair Steve Castaneda. “We are working with the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the Otay Water District to provide educational opportunities for students in our service area and to expose local children to a career path that could position them as tomorrow’s water leaders.”

The program opened in August 2019 after months of planning and collaboration with its partners.

The Authority’s Communications Committee Chair, José F. Cerda, is a long-time advocate of the partnership.

“As a former Chula Vista Elementary School District educator, I have seen the impacts that these sort of innovative classroom experiences can have on students and their families,” said Cerda. “I am so proud of the work that we are doing at the Authority and being an industry leader in creating and developing experiences for the children in our community.”

The Hydro Station will resume in a virtual format for students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District next month.

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Sweetwater Authority Wins Statewide Award for Hydro Station Education Experience

Chula Vista, Calif. – On Wednesday, July 22, the Sweetwater Authority (Authority) Governing Board was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials (CAPIO) Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. The Authority received the award earlier this month for its innovative communication for the Hydro Station Education Experience.

Sweetwater Authority Board Approves $64M Budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21, No Rate Increase

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board approved the budget for fiscal year 2020-21 at its June 24, 2020 meeting. The budget does not increase water rates for customers and reflects more than $13M in reductions over last fiscal year. To achieve these savings, the Board worked closely with Authority staff to produce a balanced budget that minimizes the financial impact to customers.

Sweetwater Authority Taps Innovative Technology to Ensure Water Quality

The Sweetwater Authority recently began a multiyear water main flushing program using innovative technology to clean all 400 miles of pipeline in its system. It’s part of Sweetwater Authority’s use of the latest technology to deliver a safe, reliable water supply to its South San Diego County customers.

The Sweetwater Authority will use innovative technology to flush all 400 miles of its system pipelines. Pnoto: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority Taps Innovative Technology to Ensure Water Quality

The Sweetwater Authority recently began a multiyear water main flushing program using innovative technology to clean all 400 miles of pipeline in its system. It’s part of Sweetwater Authority’s use of the latest technology to deliver a safe, reliable water supply to its South San Diego County customers.

Water main flushing cleans pipeline interiors by sending a rapid flow of water through them. Sweetwater’s program is the first in the region to use a new, innovative technology resulting in less environmental impact.

“We’re committed to providing our customers with high-quality water, ensuring that every drop meets safety standards and protects public health,” said Tish Berge, Sweetwater Authority general manager. “We’re also dedicated to providing the safe, reliable water through the use of best available technology and sustainable practices.”

See the system in action in the following video. A Spanish language version is also available.

New method avoids storm drain discharge

Traditional flushing methods release water from fire hydrants at a high speed in order to flush out naturally occurring sediments accumulating in water pipes over time. Although the sediment itself is harmless, it can eventually affect water color and taste. The water used to clean the pipes often cannot be captured and ends up in the storm drain system.

The bulk of Sweetwater Authority‘s flushing program now eliminates the need to discharge water from fire hydrants during the cleaning process while delivering the same results.

With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Crews identify all pipes, valves, and fire hydrants located in the area to be flushed. Next, crews connect one end of a hose to a hydrant and the other end of the hose to the no discharge, or NO-DES flushing unit. The process repeats, connecting a second hose to another hydrant and the other end back into the flushing unit, creating a temporary closed loop.

Once the NO-DES flushing unit is turned on and the hydrants are open, water will push through the loop at high pressure, disrupting any accumulated sediment on the inside of the pipes. The water is pushed through a series of sock-like filters, which remove those sediments and return clean, high-quality water back into the system.

Crews closely monitor the filtration system and water quality to determine when flushing of each pipeline segment is complete.

Innovative technology, efficient and environmentally responsible

Additional member water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the technology. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Additional member water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the technology. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations.

In the National City area 75.8 miles of pipeline was recently flushed. Crews are now completing work in the Bonita area, and then will start work in Chula Vista.

Additional water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the innovative technology.

“Securing a local water supply to ensure the water delivered is of the highest quality through the best technology in our projects and programs helps to maximize value for our customers while also being sustainable,” said Berge.

For more information on the program, go to www.sweetwater.org/flushing.

Sweetwater Authority Expands Contract Opportunities for Local Businesses, Vendors

Doing business with Sweetwater Authority is easier than ever for local companies, thanks to revisions in the water agency’s procurement policy recently approved by its Governing Board. The revised policy created a preferential purchasing program for local businesses and directed agency staff to engage the local vendor community through a newly created vendor webpage and online form where interested businesses can submit their information to be included in the Authority’s vendor database.

Hydro Station Joins Virtual ‘Innovation Week’ May 26-29

The Chula Vista Elementary School District’s “Innovation Week 2020” from May 26 to 29 will make a virtue of going virtual, inviting the community to participate along with its students in four live science education events. The activities include a Hydro Station lesson about groundwater aquifers.

Chula Vista Elementary students will explore science during "Innovation Week 2020." Photo: Chula Vista Elementary School District

Hydro Station Joins Virtual ‘Innovation Week’ May 26-29

The Chula Vista Elementary School District’s “Innovation Week 2020” from May 26 to 29 will make a virtue of going virtual, inviting the community to participate along with its students in four live science education events. The activities include a Hydro Station lesson about groundwater aquifers.

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, operated as a joint partnership between the school district, the Otay Water District, and the Sweetwater Authority.

“We’re proud that the school district can continue offering its programs at a time that’s needed now more than ever,” says Tenille Otero, Otay Water District communications officer. “Even better, is that anyone outside of the school district can experience these wonderful programs that the district offers.”

Live interactive events for students and public

“We are very excited to bring our innovative learning experiences to the San Diego region and beyond through these live, online events,” said Michael Bruder, instructional services coordinator with the Chula Vista Elementary School District. “We are also grateful to have the support of our wonderful community partners in making this happen.”

All live sessions start at 1 p.m. and will be hosted on the Microsoft Teams platform. The sessions are free and open to the public to join.

Treats teach kids about groundwater on May 28

The Hydro Station is an interactive educational space at the Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility, operated as a joint partnership between the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Otay Water District, and the Sweetwater Authority. Photo: Otay Water District

On Thursday, May 28, at 1 p.m. Hydro Station instructor Christy Bystrak will lead “Building an Edible Aquifer.”

Participants will learn about the geology of an aquifer including confining layers, contamination, recharge, and water tables, while constructing their own version using items found at home in the kitchen, including clear plastic cups, straws, food coloring, soda, ice cream, and different types of small candy or cereal.

Additional presentations include “Engineering Superhero Tech,” “Cooking Up S’More Energy,” and “Structures for Survival.”

Located in southern San Diego County, the Chula Vista Elementary School District’s 46 schools serve more than 29,600 students. Schools serve a vibrant, diverse community that features a blend of residential areas, recreational facilities, open space, and light industry.

CVESD offers innovative partnerships such as the Hydro Station project with the Otay Water District and Sweetwater Authority as a vital part of its technology-based curriculum to develop students’ creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills.