NEWS WORTH NOTING: Reclamation, SLDMWA release revised final EIS for long-term transfers; Metropolitan, Sanitation districts launch new water recycling demonstration plant; LADWP’s Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir returns to service with newly installed floating cover

Reclamation, SLDMWA complete reviews of alternatives to address potential Bay-Delta water supply shortages

Revised final EIS for long-term transfers released

The Bureau of Reclamation and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority today finalized federal and state environmental reports that analyze potential impacts of approving water transfers to increase water reliability for those suffering shortages during dry times.

The long-term transfers would send water from willing sellers north of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta to water users south of the Delta through 2024. The transfers could occur through various methods, including groundwater substitution, cropland idling, reservoir releases and conservation.

The SLDMWA’s participating water districts and other Central Valley Project water contractors in the San Francisco Bay Area experience severe reductions in CVP water supplies during dry hydrologic years and due to operations resulting from regulatory requirements. When these users experience water shortages, they may look to water transfers to help reduce potential impacts.

“With this final analysis, we will be able to streamline the regulatory process for water transfers based on real-time hydrologic conditions,” said Ernest Conant, regional director of Reclamation’s California-Great Basin.

“Water transfers are essential to providing flexibility in California’s water supply system,” said Federico Barajas, SLDMWA executive director. “Because of the irregular nature of California’s hydrology, it is necessary to find innovative ways to be able to serve the needs of water users in many parts of the state. Long-term water transfer agreements give participating public water agencies more certainty in their ability to meet customers’ needs.”

Reclamation and SLDMWA completed a joint environmental impact statement/environmental impact report in 2015 for approving water transfers over a ten-year period. In 2018, a U.S. district court ruled that the document needed further clarification.

Earlier this year, Reclamation and SLDMWA released for public comment additional analysis with new information clarifying potential environmental effects of water transfers and are now providing the revised final EIS/EIR.

The revised final EIS/EIR and previous documents are available at: https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/nepa_project_details.php?Project_ID=18361.

Metropolitan, Sanitation districts launch new water recycling demonstration plant to develop new local water source

Facility could lead to one of largest recycling plants in U.S., make water supplies more resilient

In a major step toward the potential construction of one of the largest water recycling plants in the nation, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County were joined today by federal, state and local water leaders to celebrate the start of operations at the Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center.

The 500,000-gallon-per-day demonstration facility takes cleaned wastewater from the Sanitation Districts’ Joint Water Pollution Control Plant and purifies it using an innovative process that could significantly improve efficiencies and reduce costs in water recycling.

Over the next 15 months, Metropolitan will put this treatment process through rigorous testing to ensure the process effectively removes impurities and the resulting water meets the highest quality standards. The testing and other analyses will help the agencies determine whether to grow the facility to a full-scale plant that could potentially produce up to 150 million gallons of purified water daily – enough to serve more than 500,000 homes and industrial facilities.

“Today marks a key step in Metropolitan’s endeavor to directly develop a drought-proof local water supply for millions of Southern Californians,” said Metropolitan Board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray. “Over the last two decades, Metropolitan has steadily diversified the region’s water supply portfolio and prepared for a changing climate by investing in conservation and local supply projects.  Metropolitan is now scaling that commitment up to a higher level.”

Congresswoman Grace Napolitano, State Water Resources Control Board Chairman Joaquin Esquivel and Los Angeles Regional Board Chairwoman Irma Muñoz joined Metropolitan and the Sanitation Districts in celebrating the launch of operations.

“We have long been leaders and advocates in recycling water,” said Sanitation Districts General Manager Robert Ferrante. “Most of the water from our other ten plants is currently reused. This project would use the region’s largest untapped source of cleaned wastewater. We are excited to have Metropolitan as a partner in finding a solution that will benefit the entire Southern California region.”

Construction on the $17 million demonstration plant began in late 2017. While the water purification process being tested at the facility is based on proven technologies, it uses a new combination of treatment processes – starting with membrane bioreactors and followed by reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light and advanced oxidation – that could significantly increase efficiencies in treatment.

“There are certainly proven technologies to safely recycle water. But as we embark upon this major future investment, we need to explore how the process can be improved,” Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. “Others around the globe are watching as well.”

In addition to gaining regulatory approval, the research facility will help confirm treatment costs, assess economic viability, and produce data to inform decisions for the future design, operation and optimization of a full-scale project. A later phase of testing will explore the potential of direct potable reuse, through raw water augmentation.

“The Regional Recycled Water Program is an ambitious project that requires the partnership of two large regional agencies with the right knowledge and expertise. We are thankful to be partnering with the Sanitation Districts,” Kightlinger added.

As envisioned, the full-scale program, including associated distribution lines, would take about 11 years to construct, once approved. Purified water would be delivered through 60 miles of new pipelines to: four groundwater basins in Los Angeles and Orange counties for groundwater recharge and storage, industrial facilities, and, potentially, two of Metropolitan’s existing water treatment plants for direct potable reuse.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.

The Sanitation Districts are a regional agency consisting of 24 independent special districts serving over 5.6 million people in 78 cities and unincorporated territory within Los Angeles County. The Sanitation Districts protect public health and the environment through innovative and cost-effective wastewater and solid waste management and, in doing so, convert waste into resources such as recycled water, energy and recycled materials.

LADWP’s Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir Returns to Service with Newly Installed Floating Cover

Flexible Cover Safeguards Water Quality, Ensures Water Supply Reliability

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) recently completed the installation of a 700,000 square-foot floating cover at its Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir as part of an initiative to protect and preserve the city’s water quality. This 139 million-gallon-reservoir, first constructed in 1954, is an important water storage facility located in the Bel Air area. It provides water to approximately 450,000 residents in the areas of West Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades, Marina Del Rey/LAX, and the UCLA campus. The floating cover–large enough to cover 12 football fields– helps preserve water quality, enhance water supply reliability, and comply with State and Federal laws that require drinking water reservoirs to be covered.

“LADWP takes great pride in completing this major infrastructure project ensuring access to clean, safe, reliable drinking water for the communities we serve,” said LADWP General Manager and Chief Engineer Martin L. Adams. “The innovative, flexible membrane cover at Upper Stone Canyon is the largest in LADWP’s water system and is an example of a wise and practical investment in our city’s water supply, providing lasting benefits for many years to come.

In addition to the installation of the floating cover, an access road was reconstructed, the surface of the reservoir slopes were partially relined, an 800-square-foot control building was constructed, and the reservoir inlet and outlet structures were modified. The cover material is a polyethylene synthetic rubber and it is anchored to the edge of the reservoir perimeter above the top water elevation. The cover floats on the water surface, adjusting as needed to the changing water levels.

The project at Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir complies with United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) water quality standards such as the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule, which protects drinking water in open-air facilities from microbiological contamination and the Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts Rule, which addresses risks from microbial pathogens and disinfectant byproducts. LADWP has installed floating covers at other reservoirs including the Santa Ynez, Eagle Rock, Lower Franklin, Elysian, and Green Verdugo Reservoirs. Installing covers have been determined to be the most environmentally superior and cost-effective solution for each reservoir to address these regulatory requirements.

Completion of the project was made possible through a $26,492,963 low-interest loan provided by the USEPA and the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The anticipated total interest savings associated with the loan is $9,734,778, based on the interest rate available to the department at the time of project initiation.

“EPA values its partnership with the state of California to fund critical water projects like the improvements at Upper Stone Canyon Reservoir,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Federal and state low-interest loans help provide communities with safe drinking water while saving money for local utilities and their customers.”

LADWP is committed to implementing innovative water management and has invested more than $1.3 billion in 26 major infrastructure projects to safeguard the city’s drinking water and meet all state and federal drinking water regulations. For more information on the Upper Stone Canyon Project and other water quality projects, visit: www.ladwp/water.

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About News Worth Noting:  News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations.  News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms.  If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.

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