Agencies celebrates completion of Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility rehab project

Agencies celebrate completion of Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility rehab project

Three regional water agencies hosted a celebration event last week to commemorate the completion of their $37 million, three-year construction project that enhances energy and operating efficiencies of the Santa Rosa Water Reclamation Facility (SRWRF). The project and facility are owned and managed by the Santa Rosa Regional Resources Authority (SRRRA), a partnership between Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District (EVMWD), Rancho California Water District (Rancho Water), and Western Municipal Water District (Western).

The facility serves portions of the Murrieta, Temecula, Wildomar, and surrounding communities. During construction, SRWRF underwent a major overhaul with almost every aspect of the facility rehabilitated or rebuilt in some way. An entirely new solids-handling facility was built with more accurate truck scales and an efficient pumping system. Upgrades were made to the sequential batch reactor (SBR), which cleans the wastewater during a multi-cycle treatment process. Also, a new sodium hypochlorite storage facility was constructed, which results in a safer, more efficient process for treating the wastewater with liquid bleach.

“I am proud to say that, even during a pandemic and while construction projects everywhere were delayed or even abandoned, this project for the SRRRA was completed on time and under budget,” remarked John Rossi, board chair for SRRRA and senior vice president of the Rancho Water Board of Directors. “Not only that, but this multi-faceted project was completed all while our crews continued to operate a full-time wastewater treatment facility.”

While the project brings with it an extended useful life for the facility of 30 or more years, the financial benefits are also noteworthy. The project has resulted in an 11% lower operating budget than when SRRRA was first formed in 2016 due to increased process efficiencies that lowered energy use (by more than 40%) and chemical, maintenance, and labor costs. Financing the purchase of the plant and its rehabilitation as a regional partnership allowed the SRRRA to save $22 million in lower financing costs, inclusive of receiving $4 million in debt forgiveness.

“Because of [our] collaboration, our customers are benefiting in major ways—we are saving them millions of dollars, providing unwavering wastewater service, and creating a facility that moves more than 1 billion gallons of wastewater annually,” said Western’s Board President Brenda Dennstedt.  “In addition, the upgrades to the facility have resulted in huge energy savings – an outcome that is better for the environment and the community as our area faces constant strains on the energy grid. We have truly come together for the common good of the community.”

Andy Morris, board director for EVMWD, said, “One aspect of this project that we are all particularly proud of is its responsible financing. By working together, we have saved millions of taxpayer dollars and entered into cost-saving partnerships to benefit our communities. Recycled water plays a vital part in saving our natural resources and moving through this statewide drought. Our agencies are thankful to have this incredible facility that not only benefits our communities, but California as a whole.”

SRWRF’s goal is to maintain long-term planning and investment in wastewater infrastructure for the southwestern Riverside County region, including the responsible collection, transmission, treatment, and disposal of wastewater at SRWRF. More information about SRRRA and SRWRF can be viewed at srrra.jpa.org.

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