By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)— The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) is a well-known entity in the High Desert, having been formed back in 1976. But what importance does the organization have in the High Desert, and what exactly is wastewater, anyway?
“VVWRA is a government agency created for the sole purpose of treating the Wastewater for Apple Valley, Victorville, San Bernardino County and Hesperia,” said Logan Olds, General Manager of VVWRA since 2006. VVWRA was created by the Mojave Water Agency as a means to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972, as well as to provide wastewater treatment services to the Victor Valley. The CWA creates the structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the water in the United States, as well as upholding quality standards for surface waters. VVWRA’s main treatment facility is located in Victorville near the Southern California Logistics Airport. It began operating in 1981.
So, what exactly is wasterwater? Wastewater is any water that is discharged to the sewer system. It could be from your toilets, sinks, washers, showers, and more, and can be from both homes and businesses. When you start to look at the enormity of wastewater one home simple has, you could only imagine what the entire Victor Valley is composed of. How much wasterwater does VVWRA process daily? Approximately 13 million gallons per day, which equals almost 40 acre feet per day, or roughly 650 swimming pools.
Recycled water is not a new concept, and in fact has been proven to be a safe and effective alternative to using drinking water for non-potable uses. The first water recycling facility in California was built in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in 1932, and since that time California’s population boom has only increased the demand for potable water. Recycled water has allowed these areas to maintain green landscapes, reduce wastewater discharge, slow the diversion of freshwater from the environment, save energy used to pump out ground water, and conserve fresh water for drinking.
The impact VVWRA has had and will continue to have on the High Desert community is immeasurable. “Without VVWRA, the community could not have grown, businesses would not have opened and industries would not exist because there would not have been an agency to clean the Wastewater so that it could be safely released to the environment,” said Olds.
“Waste Management and Water Reclamation is essential to the growth of any community and the Victor Valley is no exception,” said Scott Nassif, Commissioner on the Board of VVWRA JPA representing the Town of Apple Valley. “Business attraction is key to the Victor Valley success and the VVWRA plays a key role in that goal. Persevering our ground water is also key growth in the Victor Valley and the ability to use Reclaimed Water for irrigation will also be key moving forward.”
VVWRA has worked on many projects to help with the future of wasterwater treatment, with many current projects that will help set the bar in terms of wastewater management. “There are several unique projects which incorporate technologies that exist nowhere else in North America or the world,” said Olds. “These include the two new water reclamation plants in Hesperia and Apple Valley and the ability to produce 100% renewable energy at the Victorville plant without using any fossil fuels.”
Recently, an additional $4 million dollar grant was awarded to VVWRA for their Subregional Water Recycling Plants, bringing the official grant total to $12 million dollars.
These two facilities will help elevate the stress that the on-going drought has caused the region by each providing one million gallons per day (MGD) of recycled water to irrigate community parks, schools, and golf courses.
The Subregional Water Recycling Plants (WRP) will provide enough water to offset the use of ten thousand people each day in Apple Valley and Hesperia. This means that instead of wasting precious drinking water on landscaping and industrial uses, it can be replaced with inexpensive recycled water.
These facilities will use membrane bioreactor (MBR) technology to provide a high level of reliability and quality of recycled water. The Subregional WRP’s are expected to be completed in 2016.
How can residents help VVWRA?
In order to prevent blockages, you should never dispose of the following down a drain or garbage disposal:
– Fats, oils or grease from cooking, cars or lawnmowers
– Coffee grinds
– Solvents, paints, turpentine, nail polish, polish remover
– Egg shells
– Motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze or others toxins
– Produce stickers
– Chunks of Garbage
– Paper towels, rags or flushable cat litter
– Disposable diapers
– Bags/wrappings and cardboard
– Feminine hygiene products
– Prescription and over-the-counter medications
For more information on VVWRA, visit them online at www.VVWRA.com.