By Logan Olds General Manager, Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority
After 20 years of planning and two years of construction, VVWRA’s Apple Valley and Hesperia Subregional Water Recycling Plants (SWRP) have been completed. The plants were first envisioned by the VVWRA Board of Commissioners some 20 years ago when it became apparent that the region’s sewer interceptors were approaching capacity. Faced with the expensive and disruptive option of excavating and replacing miles of pipelines throughout the Victor Valley, the board began exploring a new, less- expensive regional treatment plan. The plan included building SWRP in Apple Valley and Hesperia that would help reduce the amount of flow in our interceptors while providing each community with a reliable source of clean recycled water. The completion of the Subregionals in Apple Valley and Hesperia represent the dawn of a new approach to treating wastewater in the Victor Valley while reusing our resources to better our community.
On February 13, 2018, large trucks delivered activated solids from VVWRA’s main plant to “seed” the Apple Valley plant adjacent to Brewster Park. Both the Apple Valley and Hesperia water recycling facilities use a biological process that requires microbes to help clean the wastewater. The microbes actually eat the organic matter in the waste. The facilities also feature FibrePlate hybrid membrane technology, which is considered a state-of-the-art filtering system. The startup process in Apple Valley took a number of months, but by mid-April the first recycled water began flowing to percolation ponds at the Apple Valley Golf Course. When running at maximum capacity, the Apple Valley facility will be capable of producing up to one million gallons of recycled water per day. In addition, the plant is expandable to 4 million gallons per day in anticipation of future growth. The recycled water is currently being delivered via pipeline to the Apple Valley Golf Course, and there are plans to use it for irrigation at the Civic Center and area parks.
The Apple Valley and Hesperia SWRPs are designed to be a good- neighbor facilities. Much of the facilities are actually below ground to deaden the sound of pumps and blowers. The aeration basins are covered and advanced odor-control technology is being used to eliminate unwanted odors. The visible portion of the plant is no taller than a two-story home and the surrounding grounds are tastefully landscaped to blend in with the rest of the area.
A second, nearly identical facility has been built in Hesperia but is not yet exporting recycled water. The City of Hesperia is currently installing a 10-mile pipeline that will deliver the recycled water from the plant to the Hesperia Golf Course. It will also provide irrigation for the Hesperia Civic Center and area parks.
Together, the two plants cost about $80 million for planning, engineering and construction. VVWRA managed to land $21 million in grants toward that cost, representing a 26% percent discount. Plus, VVWRA received a 1% interest loan on the remaining balance from the State of California. “The grants and the low-interest loan have helped save our member agencies millions in finance costs,” said VVWRA General Manager Logan Olds.
There are several reasons for construction of the Hesperia and Apple Valley SWRPs. With continued growth in the Victor Valley, the main interceptors or pipelines from the community to the plant could reach capacity and would have to be replaced. The VVWRA Board of Commissioners felt that construction of the regional water recycling facilities would be less expensive while also providing the communities of Hesperia and Apple Valley with a reliable source of recycled water. Another benefit from the WRPs is water conservation and reuse. Use of recycled water for irrigation is a responsible use of our natural resources and will drastically reduce the demand on our local drinking-water supplies. The same water that comes from your faucet is currently used to irrigate many community sites. Recycled water provides a reliable and safe way to keep our parks and other areas green while saving our most precious resource for use in our homes and businesses.