Upgraded wastewater treatment plant officially opens
Project $2 million under budget; highly energy-efficient features protect water for future generations
–On Thursday, the City of Paso Robles held a grand opening of the Paso Robles Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade on Sulphur Springs Road. The event celebrated the completion of the upgrade project, which has been in construction for the last three years and planned and designed over the last eight years. During the event staff held a thank you lunch, ribbon cutting, small group tours of the facility, and were presented with a check from Pacific Gas and Electric Company for $563,000 for the energy efficiency features of the plant.
The city’s wastewater treatment plant is a physical, biological, and chemical process that currently treats and discharges 2.7 million gallons of wastewater to the Salinas River each day. The plant was previously antiquated and struggled to comply with modern State and Federal water quality regulations. In 2015 the city completed a major upgrade of the plant to a biological nutrient removal process. The upgrade project included new headworks, rehabilitation of primary clarifiers, a new pump station, replacement of trickling filters with the Biological Nutrient Removal process, new secondary clarifiers, a chloramination disinfection process, a new effluent polishing channel, and a system that generates power and heat from biogas generated by digestion of sludge. This new treatment process effectively removes all harmful pollutants from the wastewater and is highly energy efficient.
The upgraded treatment process enables the city to produce high quality recycled water in the future. In 2013, the city adopted a master plan to produce tertiary-quality recycled water and distribute it to east Paso Robles, where it may be safely used for irrigation of city parks, golf courses, and vineyards. This will reduce the need to pump groundwater from the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin and further improve the sustainability of the city’s water supply.
City of Paso Robles Wastewater Manager Matt Thompson said this has been one of the largest and most complex projects in city history. “The project has come in more than $2 million under budget, so we are really happy to celebrate,” he said. “The previous system served the community for 60 years, the equipment had degraded and the system did not consistently comply with modern discharge standards. In 2007, the city initiated the upgrade project to replace obsolete technology, enable the city to meet more stringent clean-water standards, and employ the most advanced, energy efficient treatment processes and equipment. The project also positions the plant for future modifications to produce recycled water, which will further diversify the city’s water supplies and help sustain the city’s environmental and economic health.”
The project cost approximately $49.6 million. The city financed the upgrade with a low interest loan from the State’s Clean Water Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program. Construction started in April 2013 and was completed in fall 2015.
The city is presently in design stage for an additional tertiary treatment facilities which includes filtration and ultraviolet light disinfection, which are needed to produce tertiary quality recycled water. The city is pursuing low-interest State loans and grants, with intent to begin construction of the tertiary treatment facilities in late 2016 with work expected to be complete by 2019.
For more information visit www.prcity.com.