Thursday, August 27, 2015
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Clovis Public Utilities Department

155 N. Sunnyside, Clovis, CA 93611

(559) 324-2600

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The City of Clovis Recycled Water Plant

The State Water Resources Control Board is encouraging recycled water projects throughout the State of California. By building-out the Recycled Water Master Plan, Clovis will be able to meet its projected water needs in the next 25-30 years, while protecting its precious groundwater resource, reducing historic groundwater overdraft, and enhancing groundwater recharge. 

In early 2009, the City began operating its own state-of-the-art wastewater treatment plant and water recycling distribution system. The Clovis Water Reuse Facility is located on approximately 16 acres of property north of Ashlan and west of McCall Avenues.

In light of projected water balance needs, Clovis recognizes the importance of recycled water as a much needed new water source. The wastewater treatment plant will ultimately produce 9,400 acre-feet of "disinfected tertiary treated recycled water" annually through a membrane bioreactor facility. The Recycled Water System will then carry this highly-treated water to irrigate green belts, median islands, parks, trails and paseos, State Route 168, and agricultural operations throughout the City.

Water Reuse Facility Rendering

Purpose and Need

Recycled Water – A New Water Supply - Until recently, groundwater had been the sole water supply for the City of Clovis since 1913. But groundwater is not a sustainable water supply and overdraft in the regional aquifer resulted in groundwater levels dropping over 100 feet in the last 50 years. Wells were going dry due to dropping water levels and the well field infrastructure was threatened by contamination of natural and man-made chemicals. 

In 1972, Clovis obtained access to surface water from the Fresno Irrigation District (FID). Some of that water is used to recharge groundwater supplies; some is sent to the Surface Water Treatment Plant, which was completed in 2004, where it is treated and distributed as high-quality drinking water. Additionally, some of the FID surface water remains untreated and is used to irrigate City of Clovis parks and other common areas. 

Water that can be treated to potable (drinkable) standards is a resource that is limited in supply and should therefore be reserved for the highest human uses whenever possible. That is why the City of Clovis has taken steps to develop a new water supply that is perfect for landscape irrigation and industrial applications. That new, sustainable water supply is highly-treated recycled water. 

The construction of the Water Reuse Facility and the treated water distribution system is funded by bonds which will be repaid by new development fees.

Recycled Water Quality

Purple Pipe system under constructionThe new Clovis Water Reuse Facility treats its wastewater to tertiary recycled water standards (also referred to as advanced water treatment) which is the highest level of treatment defined by the State; this level of treatment allows for unrestricted reuse in virtually all reclaimed water applications. 

The City’s recycled water is monitored and tested daily to ensure that it consistently meets these high quality standards. This ensures water quality that far exceeds its intended use. In thousands of applications throughout the U.S., there has never been a documented illness from recycled water use that has been installed per regulations. Consistent inspections and strict regulations are also in place to ensure that the drinking and recycled water systems remain separate.

FAQs about Recycled Water

Pasa Tiempo Park - Recycled Water LandscapeWhat is recycled water? 

Recycled water is highly treated wastewater that has been purified through multiple levels of treatment to meet the stringent health standards set by the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hundreds of communities throughout California are using recycled water. Approved and common uses include: 

  • Irrigation of parks and playgrounds, golf courses, freeway landscaping and residential common areas 
  • Commercial toilet and urinal flushing 
  • Industrial processing 
  • Industrial and commercial cooling or air-conditioning 
  • Commercial laundries 
  • Decorative fountains 
  • Lake recharge 

Wetlands projects Is recycled water safe? 

Yes. Recycled water must meet stringent regulatory requirements monitored by the State Department of Public Health and be treated to the State of California Title 22 standards for tertiary (advanced) treatment of water. It must also meet regional and local standards. Wastewater is treated to these rigid standards to ensure that public health and environmental quality are protected. Recycled water to be utilized for the City of Clovis’ Water Reuse Project will be monitored and tested daily to ensure that it consistently meets these high quality standards. 

How long has recycled water been in use? 

Recycled water systems have been operating in California and throughout the nation since the early 1960’s. Recycled water is used in more than 1,600 individual parks, playgrounds or schoolyard sites throughout the United States. 

Where else is recycled water used? 

More than 1,600 sites in 11 states are using recycled water, including 160 cities in California. Recycled water is currently being used throughout southern California in communities such as San Diego, Irvine, Orange and Los Angeles counties. In California’s North Bay Area, Daly City, Oakland, Alameda, Santa Rosa, Windsor, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and San Jose are among the communities that are using this valuable resource. 

Recycled water is used in many ways and in many states across the country. In Arizona, Texas, Virginia and Florida, recycled water is added and blended with water sources in reservoirs and underground storage basins that are used as drinking water supplies. Globally, Israel, Jordan and Australia are considered leaders in the use of recycled water. 

What is the City of Clovis doing to make sure the recycled water is always safe? 

The recycled water quality will be monitored by treatment plant personnel daily to ensure that rigid water quality standards are continually met. Water testing takes place throughout the treatment process. Water quality testing results are reported to, and monitored by, regulatory officials to ensure high quality standards are met. Additionally, proper application of recycled water for the City’s Water Reuse Project will be ensured through implementation of Best Management Practices, appropriate signage and markings, cross-connection testing and control of overspray and runoff at irrigation sites.

Glossary of Recycled Water Terms

CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) – State law that requires state, local, and other agencies to evaluate the environmental implications of their actions. 

CTR (California Toxics Rule) – Federal regulation setting water quality criteria (limits) for heavy metals and other toxic compounds for the protection of beneficial uses of surface waters in California. 

Environmental Impact Report (EIR) – A report required by the California Environmental Quality Act to describe the environmental impact of a proposed project. 

EIR Certification – EIR adoption by a governing agency accepting the document as being complete and adequate according to the California Environmental Quality Act. 

Graywater – Water that has been used for showering, clothes washing, and faucet uses. Kitchen sink and toilet water are excluded. 

Infrastructure – Physical structures that form the foundation for development. Infrastructure includes: wastewater and water works, electric power, communications, transit and transportation facilities, and oil and gas pipelines and associated facilities. 

MG – million gallons. 

Master Plan – A comprehensive plan to guide the long-term physical development of a particular area. 

NPDES (The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit) – Controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. 

Reclamation – The operation or process of changing the condition or characteristics of wastewater so that additional uses of the water can be achieved. 

Recycled Water – The California Water Code defines recycled water as "water which, as a result of treatment of waste, is suitable for a direct beneficial use or a controlled use that would not otherwise occur." Regulations allow water managers to match water quality to specific reuse applications. This reduces the amount of fresh water required for non-potable uses, ensuring that the best and purest sources of water will be reserved for public drinking water. 

RWQCB (Regional Water Quality Control Board) – Regulating agency for water quality issues in this area. 

Tertiary (or Advanced Water) Treatment – Removes specific contaminants to meet California’s standard for unrestricted use of recycled water. Usually the process occurs after secondary and primary treatments. 

Title 22 – The California Department of Health Services establishes water and treatment reliability criteria for water recycling under Title 22, Chapter 4, of the California Code of Regulations. 

Wastewater – The used water and solids that flow to a treatment plant. Storm water, surface water and groundwater infiltration also may be included in the wastewater that enters a plant.

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