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.

The Fast-Spreading Coronavirus Variant is Turning Up in US Sewers

A hyper-transmissible form of the coronavirus that causes covid-19 has been found in US sewer systems in California and Florida, confirming its widening presence in the US.

Buckets of dirty water drawn from sewer pipes near Los Angeles and outside Orlando starting in late January are among those in which genetic mutations shared by a so-called UK variant have been detected.

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.

Calgon Carbon Given FPUD Contract for Granulated Activated Carbon System

Calgon Carbon Corporation was awarded the Fallbrook Public Utility District contract to provide granular activated carbon treatment system equipment. FPUD’s board voted 5-0, Dec. 7, to award Calgon Carbon a contract for $1,260,493. A separate 5-0 vote that day approved a change order to the construction contract with Filanc Alberici JV to install pipelines associated with the granular activated carbon treatment system.

First Rain of Season Unveils a New Pollution Problem: Masks and Gloves — Pandemic PPE

The Bay Area’s first rain of the season is washing away worries of wildfire and drought. But it’s also bringing a new concern: gobs of face masks flooding San Francisco Bay.

Early season storms typically sweep a slurry of debris from streets and sidewalks into rivers, creeks and bays. This year, the fall flush not only contains the usual gunk, waste experts say, but a whole lot of discarded PPE — or personal protective equipment, the detritus of the pandemic.

Benefits Bubble Up: Wastewater Treatment

What makes Bear Republic Brewing Company special is just how conscious its chief operating officer and master brewer is of water’s impact on the business and its local community.

Bear Republic was established in Sonoma County, California, in 1995 by the Norgrove family, and opened its first brew pub in January of 1997 in Healdsburg, California. In November of that year, Peter Kruger was hired to the company, launching his career path to his current position as Bear Republic Brewing Company master brewer and chief operating officer.

At the time he was hired, Kruger said the wastewater from the beer making process was sent through the sewer system to the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

Region’s Water Quality Celebrated by Switchfoot Musician Jon Foreman

As part of its campaign to promote the quality of local water supplies, the San County Diego Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have partnered with Encinitas resident and Grammy-award winning musician Jon Foreman of Switchfoot to create a series of videos highlighting how tap water across the region meets or exceeds stringent state and federal standards.

The new videos are part of the Water Authority’s regional Trust the Tap outreach and education platform, which was launched in early 2020 to assure the public about the safety of water during the coronavirus pandemic.

FPUD Rejects Bids for Granulated Activated Carbon System

The Fallbrook Public Utility District will be repeating the bid process for granular activated carbon treatment system equipment. A 5-0 FPUD board vote Oct. 27 rejected both bids submitted earlier in the month and directed district staff to readvertise the procurement of the treatment equipment for bid.

West Valley Water District Approves Water Infrastructure Improvements in North Fontana

The West Valley Water District Board of Directors has approved a series of critical water infrastructure improvements for North Fontana residents in Zone 7. The actions will ensure that WVWD will be able to better maintain and control the steady flow of water to the area’s residents, WVWD said in a news release on Sept. 22. The project is located west of Citrus Avenue and north of Interstate 15.

Water’s Long Journey to Your Faucet

Most people take it for granted. You turn the faucet on, and water comes out.

But it isn’t that simple. In fact, it’s far more complicated to fill a glass with clean drinking water.

That’s one of the reasons why the City of San Diego’s Public Utilities Department is mailing residents the annual Drinking Water Quality Report this week.

“A lot of people just think that when you turn the tap water on, it’s just coming from the lakes and the streams,” said Michael Simpson, the Senior Water Operations Supervisor at the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant near Lake Murray.