Upgrades to Sewer Collection and Treatment Systems Underway
Last updated 2/10/2021 at 9:26am
The Borrego Water District operates a sewer collection and treatment system for approximately 800 customers in Town Center, Borrego Springs Resort/Club Circle (BSR/CC) and Rams Hill. Most of the infrastructure was built in the mid 1980s and the Board/Staff at BWD are taking major strides to maintain/improve sewer service into the future. Two major projects are underway with this specific goal in mind.
Odor Control System and Pipeline Relocation Near La Casa Del Zorro: The Sewer Collection System begins at Palm Canyon Resort on the west and transports water 4 miles to the Treatment Plant east of La Casa Del Zorro where flows are combined with BSR/CC and then Rams Hill. The long and large diameter pipeline has a relatively slow flow rate which contributes to the creation of odors caused because the naturally occurring bacteria use all the oxygen and can produce hydrogen sulfide related compounds. Manholes on the sewerline allow a pathway for the odors to escape and can sometimes be noticed when walking or driving by the Resort. BWD is planning an Oxygen Injection System to be installed across the street from La Casa to assist with odor control. In addition, the sewerline currently running through the La Casa parking lot is being relocated into Borrego Springs Road and manholes sealed. This project is being funded thru a private bank financed BWD bond issue from 2018. Using bonds instead of cash for capital projects reduces the rate spike needed and ensures the beneficiaries of the project pay for the improvements over time. Both projects are expected to begin in Feb. 2021.
Sewer Treatment Plant Renovation: After five years and considerable efforts of BWD Board/Staff/Consultants, a State of California Water Boards Grant for $478,000 has been received to repair components of the 250,000 gallon per day Rams Hill Water Treatment Plant. As sewage enters the Plant, grit and large solids are removed by the headworks system, protecting the pumps and other equipment downstream. After grit removal, the wastewater enters the oxidation ditch where the major cleaning happens. Bacteria naturally present in the wastewater decompose the waste products as long as they have plenty of oxygen, so the Aerator churns the wastewater adding air as it circulates around the ditch. Finally, clear water is drained from the top of the oxidation ditch and Clarifiers further remove suspended solids while heavier solids, called sludge, settle to the bottom. The cleaned water from the Clarifiers is transferred to a pond for evaporation and the sludge is disposed. The Headworks/Grit Chamber will be replaced and the Oxidation Ditch and Clarifiers will be sand blasted and all exposed surfaces refinished. Obtaining the Grant eliminates the need for BWD Sewer Ratepayers to fund this renovation.
Every five years, BWD goes through a complex water and sewer rate setting process created by Proposition 218. BWD will be sharing information about this process, projections for revenues and expenditures and the rates needed to support these efforts for the next five years in the coming editions of the BWD Newsletter, Borrego Sun and other outlets.