Cracks, Hacks, Attacks: California’s Vulnerable Water System Faces Many Threats

On a February morning in 2021, a water treatment plant operator in Oldsmar, Fla., noticed something unusual: An unidentified user had remotely accessed the plant’s computer system and was moving the mouse around the screen.

The operator watched as the intruder clicked into various software programs before landing on a function that controls the amount of sodium hydroxide, or lye, in the plant’s water system.

Phoenix to Recycle Wastewater Into Drinking Water

The city of Phoenix announced its plans Wednesday to recycle wastewater for drinking purposes in the near future as Arizona is on the heels of even more cuts due to the shrinking Colorado River.

The plan is set to be implemented within the Valley by 2030.

Opinion: The Abundance Choice, Part 10: Time to Stop Wasting Wastewater

If there is any source of water that ought to be optimized, it is the wastewater produced by California’s urban centers. Perennially issuing from sewage treatment plants throughout the state, every year this torrent of mostly treated effluent is equivalent in volume to the San Joaquin River in a wet year.

The California Department of Water Resources estimates statewide urban water consumption at approximately seven million acre feet per year. Just over three million of that total is estimated to be so-called “interior” water use, which means this water is flushed or drained through sewer systems into a wastewater treatment plant.

North Bay Agencies Seek $83 Million to Expand Water Recycling Amid Drought

Petaluma, one of the driest corners of Sonoma County during the past two years of drought, is making a multimillion-dollar advance into recycled water.

Operator of a wastewater treatment plant that serves about 65,000 people and treats about 5 million gallons of effluent a day, Petaluma is seeking grants for four projects with a total cost of $42 million.

East County Nears Vote on New Wastewater Plant Amid Historic Drought

East County is moving closer to building a new wastewater treatment plant to recycle millions of gallons a day, amid a severe lack of rainfall that’s pushed the region into its driest period in a millennium.

Officials with the local Helix Water District have announced they and other project leaders are more than halfway done designing a system to make the region less reliant on outside water. The governing body overseeing the project is scheduled to vote May 19 on a final price with contractors, a spokeswoman said.

Poof! Plans Underway to Transform Sewage Into Electricity, Clean Water

It’s like a magic trick for poop. Put it in one end of the machine, and out the other comes electricity, distilled water and a small amount of ash. And there’s none of the greenhouse gas — namely methane — produced by traditional sewage treatment and sewage sludge decomposition.

Though it might seem futuristic, this innovative blueprint has attracted grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the California Energy Commission, the latter to the tune of $1.6 million. The money is helping to fund a demonstration project at south Orange County’s Santa Margarita Water District. Partners include Stanford University’s Codiga Resource Recovery Center.

FPUD to Refinance Debt for Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Fallbrook Public Utility District will be refinancing its debt for the wastewater treatment plant.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote, Aug. 24, approved the development of a financing plan and debt documents. FPUD expects to reduce its payments by $1.1 million over a 15-year period, or approximately $73,000 annually.

“With the current low interest rate environment, we had the opportunity to save a substantial amount of money,” Jack Bebee, FPUD general manager, said.

RWQCB Rescinds Waste Discharge Orders for Color Spot, Oak Crest, Rancho Corrido

The Regional Water Quality Control Board rescinded waste discharge orders for Color Spot Foliage Inc., the Oak Crest Treatment Plant and the Rancho Corrido Recreational Vehicle Park. The RWQCB actions, Aug. 12, do not eliminate the waste discharge restrictions but rather incorporate those facilities into a general order so that reporting for individual facilities can be consolidated.

Inland Empire Water Agency Gets $196 Million Loan from EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, May 28, gave a $196.4 million loan to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency to expand its wastewater treatment plant in Chino. Loan dollars will be used to help finance an expansion of the IEUA’s Regional Water Recycling Plant No. 5, located at 6063 Kimball Ave., the EPA announced.