Sacramento San District About to Start Historic $2.1 Billion Echowater Project

April 3, 2015 | It is a service every urban and suburban dweller or worker uses on a daily basis without much thought. This same servic...

April 3, 2015 |

It is a service every urban and suburban dweller or worker uses on a daily basis without much thought. This same service has also often been used as a measuring stick to differentiate between a fully developed, industrialized economy and society, and those that are still undergoing development.

We are of course referring to sewage and sanitation services.

For Elk Grove and all of Sacramento County and portions of Yolo County that have sewer connections, that service is provided by the Sacramento County Sanitation District. Many Elk Grove residents might be familiar with the District's sprawling processing facility just west of Franklin Boulevard and North of Laguna Boulevard.

The processing facility uses 900-acres of the sites 3,400-acres it controls and processes up to 150 million gallons of waste water per day. At this same site, the facility is about to start a $2.1 billion expansion project, the so-called EchoWater Project that must be completed by 2023.

This major expansion of the facility comes following a 2010 State of California new water quality requirement to remove more ammonia, nitrates and pathogens before the treated water is released into the Sacramento River, just west of the facility.

The construction of the facility will involve several phases peaking at about $30 million per month. Several large construction firms have been contracted and about 600 workers will be employed at peak staffing.

"This probably four times the cost of the King's Arena, and double the cost of the airport expansion that was done," Director of Operations Ruben Robles said. "This is one of, if not the biggest, capital projects in the region's history."

To finance the expansion, ratepayers will be facing increasing sewage fees from The District. Currently, the fees paid county-wide are $29 per month and will increase in phases over the next eight years. In July 2015, the fee will go to $32 and $35 in 2016.

Robles stressed this is the fee paid county-wide and does not reflect additional charges levied by individual municipalities.

While construction is primarily being financed by increased rates, Robles noted The District may take short-term bridge loans from the State of California. The  state will provide low-interest loans to bridge any lag between construction cost and collection of ratepayers fees.

Portions of the project have started already, but Robles said construction activity will gear-up early next year. "We will ramp-up even further in '17," he added.

Like every person and entity in California, the District is also feeling the effects of the drought. Robles said the amount of treated water they discharge into the Sacramento is based on flows, and with flows slowing, the amount of discharge has been curtailed.

"With river flow the way they are now, we have to to divert or store water a significant amount of the time," Robles said.

More information about the EchoWater Project is available here.


    



 

  

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1 comment

Mark Spitz said...

"With river flow the way they are now, we have to to divert or store water a significant amount of the time," Robles said.

I know where they can store their water--the high-dive, Olympic time trial destination Aquatic Center!

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