LA River Master Plan Focuses On Water Quality, Parks Access

Eco-friendly projects designed to improve water quality and increase access to parks while addressing social issues in surrounding communities are among the goals of an updated master plan to revitalize the Los Angeles River, released Wednesday.

A Helix staff member installs parts in the ozone generator. Photo: Helix Water District

Helix Water District Reduces Plant Upgrade Costs

When the Helix Water District received contractor estimates as high as $3.5 million to upgrade the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant’s ozone power supply units and generators, it decided to perform the upgrade in-house.

With Suez Water Technologies provided engineering and equipment, Helix employees incorporated new technology and innovative installation practices. The proof of concept pilot project proved the feasibility of the new approach, and a full retrofit is now planned. The estimated upgrade costs to complete the full project is $1.1 million – an approximately 70% cost savings. The upgrade will extend the life of the power supply units and generators at least 15 years.

Reducing upgrade costs saves ratepayers

“The ozone project is our latest example of cost-effective local government,” said Brian Olney, Helix Water District director of water quality and system operations. “In early 2020, Helix staff also standardized the design, hardware, and software of the motor control centers in the district’s 25 pump stations, and that project also saved our customers money, and created long-term operating, maintenance and purchasing efficiencies.”

Ozone treatment provides safe and reliable water to East County

The ozone generator at Helix Water District’s R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant in Lakeside. Photo: Helix Water District

The ozone generator at Helix Water District’s R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant in Lakeside. Photo: Helix Water District

The water treatment process at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment plant begins with the removal of dirt and other material suspended in the water. Ozone is then used to inactivate or destroy any organisms in the water. Ozone offers important advantages over chlorine:

  • Ozone destroys or inactivates a wide range of organisms in the water
  • Ozone needs little contact time with the water to be effective
  • Ozone produces fewer potentially harmful disinfection byproducts than other disinfectants
  • Ozone removes most of the smell and taste issues people associate with tap water
Helix’s ozone project team (pre-pandemic) in front of the rebuilt power supply unit.

Helix Water District’s ozone project team (pre-pandemic) in front of the rebuilt power supply unit. Photo: Helix Water District

Ozone is naturally unstable at normal atmospheric conditions, which is why Helix needs ozone generators to produce it on site. The high voltage generators break down oxygen molecules (O2) and form ozone (O3). The ozone molecules are then diffused in a contact chamber and bubble up through the water to destroy any organisms present.

After ozonation, Helix Water District filters the water and adds a dose of chloramines — chlorine and ammonia — to maintain water quality throughout its 737 miles of water distribution pipelines. The treatment process is managed by a team of highly trained plant operators who conduct 200 water quality tests per day. Chemists and biologists test water samples from both the plant and the distribution system as well.

Del Mar Horsepark Advocates Release Water Test Results

Advocates working to keep the Del Mar Horsepark open for equestrian shows, a riding school and other activities released a report Friday that indicates the park’s water issues originate outside the property.

Testing lab ALS Group USA Corp. of Irvine examined water samples taken during seasonal rains Dec. 28 upstream and downstream from the horse park. The upstream samples showed significantly higher amounts of coliforms, pollutants that come from human and animal waste.

Helix Water District Approves Water for Sand-Mining Project

The Helix Water District board of directors has agreed to supply water over the next 20 years for a controversial sand-mining project in the El Monte Valley in Lakeside. The board will now send a letter to county planners confirming they can meet the needs of the project should it win approval.

SCV Water’s First PFAS Water Treatment Facility Now Serving Residents

Santa Clarita Valley residents are now receiving water from one of California’s first facilities that restore groundwater affected by a suspected manmade carcinogen, SCV Water Agency officials announced Monday. The move comes after the agency received the final permit to serve water from its first water treatment plant that combats per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, from groundwater.

San Diego Utilities Department Monitors Wastewater For SARS-CoV-2

San Diego is participating in a statewide program to monitor its untreated wastewater for the virus that causes COVID-19, it was announced Tuesday. City staff have been monitoring for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, in untreated wastewater at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant this month. Following the test run, staff will monitor for SARS-CoV-2 three times a week from January through June 2021.

Opinion: Steps to Cool the Climate Will Improve Water Quality, Too

While much of Washington remains mired in partisan gridlock, there is new cooperation in two areas critical to managing climate change: reducing carbon emissions from agriculture and shifting to electric vehicles.

For The West’s Drinking Water, Wildfire Concerns Linger Long After Smoke Clears

For many communities in the West, the water that flows out of kitchen faucets and bathroom showerheads starts high up in the mountains, as snowpack tucked under canopies of spruce and pine trees.

US EPA Recommends Testing Wastewater for PFAS

Some facilities may have to test for the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in their wastewater, under a new strategy from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The effort could eventually help reduce the level of environmentally persistent and toxic PFAS in drinking water drawn downstream of such facilities as well as in fish and river sediment.

How Safe is the Water Off the Coast of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant?

Though many may not know it, throughout its existence the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station has discharged wastewater that contains very low levels of radiation. All nuclear plants release some effluents, though the nature and amounts can vary by plant site and configuration.