Recycled water could be the key to fighting drought in Southern California in the future.
Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) is in the midst of a number of capital improvement projects that promise to provide clean recycled water to our arid region, while providing opportunities for future growth.
After 20 years of planning, VVWRA broke ground earlier this year on two subregional water reclamation facilities in Apple Valley and Hesperia.
In simple terms, these will be water recycling plants that clean and disinfect a portion of the locally generated wastewater. These plants will only treat a portion of the wastewater, while the rest of the wastewater and all solid materials will continue to the main VVWRA plant in Victorville. Each facility will initially be capable of producing up to one million gallons of recycled water per day, with the ability to expand that capacity in the future. That’s one million gallons a day of clean, recycled water for both the Town of Apple Valley and the City of Hesperia. The recycled, non-potable water will not be used for drinking purposes , but it will be used to irrigate and water the Apple Valley and Hesperia Golf Courses. By using recycled water at the golf courses, both communities instantly preserve hundreds of thousands of gallons a day of potable drinking water that is currently being used for watering. The Apple Valley Subregional is being built at Brewster Park on Otoe Road.
The water produced there will be piped to two percolation ponds at the Apple Valley Golf Course, which will become the new source of landscaping water for the course. The Hesperia Subregional Water Reclamation facility is being built near the corner of Mojave St. and Tamarisk Ave, just east of I-15. The water produced by the Hesperia plant will go into two percolation ponds at the site. The city of Hesperia is preparing plans for a purple pipe system that will include a ten mile pipeline to the Hesperia Golf Course. The water that is produced by the subregional will be used at the Hesperia Civic Center and conveyed to the ponds at the Hesperia Golf Course which are used for golf course irrigation. The City of Hesperia pipeline will include spurs for future connection to area parks and schools as well future developments that include purple pipe for reclaimed water. An important aspect to both of the water reclamation facilities are the “good neighbor” features. Those include state of the art odor control technology, sound proofing and extensive landscaping to help blend in with the area surroundings. Construction on both of these facilities is expected to be completed in early 2017.
VVWRA is also quickly approaching final completion of an ambitious pipeline project made necessary by Mother Nature. In late 2010, a series of powerful storms severely damaged VVWRA’s main sewer line through the Upper Mojave Narrows. The damage to the pipe was beyond repair and a temporary emergency pipeline was constructed in record time. In the wake of that storm damage, the Upper Narrows Pipeline Project was begun. The goal of the Upper Narrows project was to replace the damaged pipeline, while taking a new route that would avoid environmentally sensitive areas as much as possible. The project features two new 16” pipelines that will bring wastewater from Apple Valley and a 41” pipeline that will bring wastewater from Hesperia, Spring Valley Lake and the eastside of Victorville. Together, those three pipelines will join together in the Upper Mojave Narrows and flow into a large 48”pipeline. That brings us to the highlight and, perhaps, the most difficult part of this project… the drilling of a half mile tunnel through the rocky hills of the Upper Mojave Narrows and underneath C Street to Old Town Victorville. The tunneling portion of the project has proven to be very difficult and dangerous with a number of unforeseen problems along the way. But in August, 2015, the tunnel was completed and crews have been in the final stages of installing the large 48” pipe inside the tunnel. When completed, the pipeline project will permanently connect a large portion of the Victor Valley’s sewer lines to VVWRA and bypass the environmentally sensitive Upper Mojave Narrows. And in the future, when the subregional water reclamation facilities are done, another two million gallons of wastewater will be removed from the daily flow to the main VVWRA plant. The expanded capacity from the reduced flow helps in two ways. First, it paves the way for future development throughout the Victor Valley. More development means more business, jobs and tax dollars, which benefits all of us. Secondly, the reduction in wastewater flow means VVWRA can put off expensive upgrades that would be necessary at its primary plant in Victorville.
VVWRA has been working on a number of smaller projects as well, including the recently completed sludge lagoon lining project at our Victorville plant. A pair of four million gallon sludge lagoon’s, were recently re- lined with concrete and an absorbent bentonite clay membrane to better protect the environment. Our aeration basins at the Victorville plant, where the majority of the wastewater treatment takes place, were recently upgraded with new fine bubble Aquarius diffusers. The improved diffusers provide a better oxygen mix to the wastewater for more efficient treatment and lower energy costs. And in Apple Valley, crews are preparing to remove the Nanticoke pump station and install three miles of 30” collection trunk line that will connect sewer to the subregional water reclamation facility being built at Brewster Park.
VVWRA strives to be a good steward of the resources it has available to them. VVWRA’s waste to energy program, which includes the Omnivore system, is part of its effort to become energy neutral. Omnivore is a patented system By Anaergia Inc. that triples the amount of biogas or methane that is produced in a formerly decommissioned digester. The biogas is captured, cleaned and pressurized so it can be used to fire two 800 Kwh 2G generators. When operating at full capacity, these generators are able to produce more than 80% of VVWRA’s electricity needs. And recently, VVWRA has begun accepting fog, oil and grease (FOG) and other forms of waste (ADM) which has greatly increased the amount of biogas produced by the plant. In the future, VVWRA could add a third generator to help offset the cost of electricity used by the new subregional water reclamation facilities. VVWRA is also exploring the idea of a solar farm as another way to offset power costs.
VVWRA is doing its part to be environmentally responsible and innovative, while remaining forward thinking as the Victor Valley prepares for a bright future. These projects are part of the key infrastructure needed for our community to succeed in the future.