ROSAMOND – A $15 million improvement project was officially kicked off Nov. 8 for the Rosamond Community Services District wastewater treatment plant. The new Rosamond CSD Water Reclamation Plant is expected to be operational in early 2021.
“When considering how many people will benefit from this project, after the ultimate completion, it’s no wonder that it stands well above any other project that could serve the people of this community,” said Rosamond CSD General Manager Steve Perez. “Some may point out that the cost of a project is not a value and in some cases, that’s the truth - it’s not a value per se. However, when you consider the impacts of the adjudication in the Antelope Valley water basin, it becomes a value. It becomes a value because of the beneficial use of the water that’s generated in our west waste stream and the ability to clean that water and be able to place it in percolation ponds will give the district, approximately 1,000 acre feet of water credit.”
A 2015 court settlement with the Antelope Valley Watermaster cut the amount of groundwater the district could pump from the aquifer from a high of 3,000 acre feet per year to 400 acre feet per year.
“We have to make up the difference, and this thousand acre feet will provide us up big amount of water to make up that gap,” said Perez.
He noted that the average cost of water is $6,500 per acre foot. An average California household uses between one-half and one acre-foot of water per year for indoor and outdoor use
“So that thousand acre feet will be valued at about $6.5 million and you got to understand the cost of water is not going to go down, it’s probably going to go up,” said Perez. “So that $6.5 million, that the district would have otherwise had to spend to make up the gap in the water that we needed will be saved by this project. Suffice to say, I think it is probably the best use of our waste stream, is the best use additional water credit and we’re looking forward to the culmination and the fire up of this plant.”
The upgraded plant will also address an order from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board to reduce excess nitrates seeping into the groundwater from leaking evaporation ponds. The plant will take the secondary-treated water and run it through the tertiary treatment equipment to remove the nitrates and percolate the treated water back into the ground, allowing it to be naturally filtered back into the aquifer.
“Percolating is Mother Nature’s way of cleaning up the water,” Perez said later. “What we’re doing is a process that would take Mother Nature quite a while to do and we’re doing it a lot quicker. This is kind of a cutting edge in recharging our basin and cleaning up the water to a stage that will allow us to recharge and replenish the basin and get credit for the amount of water, we’re now keeping and not allowing to evaporate. That value that I mentioned out there, of approximately $6.5 million is real money, because if we get that credit and we don’t have to go out and spend $6.5 million for that water. So we’re getting a big chunk of benefit out of that that money that we’re saving helps to pay down the cost of the plant and it’s positive for the basin, it’s positive for ratepayers on the dollar side, and it makes sense.”
The approximately $15 million price tag for the upgrades and improvements will be paid through borrowed fund as well as some $5 million from the District’s reserves and $880,000 from a Prop. 1 grant from the California Department of Water Resources.