Santa Paula Water Recycling Facility earns 2014 Plant of the Year award
The California Water Environment Association has honored the Santa Paula Water Recycling Facility with the prestigious 2014 Plant of the Year Award for its "outstanding achievements within the water environment field" in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties.
COSTA MESA, CA, Feb. 12, 2015 -- The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) has honored the Santa Paula Water Recycling Facility with the prestigious 2014 Plant of the Year Award for its "outstanding achievements within the water environment field" in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, specifically noting its award-winning efficient design, commitment to process efficiency and exceptionally high-quality effluent. It is now in the running for plant of the year for the state of California.
Santa Paula's original facility was constructed in 1939 and no longer met the water quality standards established by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Accumulating more than $8 million in fines, the city needed a new plant expeditiously and economically in order to waive the fines. They selected the Alinda Capital Partners and PERC Water Corporation teams (see "PERC, Alinda Awarded for Santa Paula Water Recycling Facility PPP"), which utilized private sources of funding for its design and construction. Construction began in July 2008, and it started treating Santa Paula's wastewater in May 2010, seven months ahead of the city's compliance deadline.
The majority of the wastewater treatment at the facility occurs in enclosed underground tanks with the operations buildings, offices, laboratory, and others, constructed above the tanks. As a result, the footprint of the plant is 70 percent smaller than the city had planned for, has 25 percent more treatment capacity, and produces significantly less noise and odors than typical conventional wastewater facilities.
The utility has been cited by industry experts as one of the most cost-effective membrane bioreactor systems in the world due to designs that focused heavily on reducing power consumption. This was achieved by selecting energy-efficient equipment and a more efficient sequence of process operations. Additionally, the office buildings use a combination of natural lighting and sensor-driven fluorescent lighting that exceeds the California Title-24 standards for energy efficiency. This has resulted in energy consumption that is 30 percent lower than PERC Water's performance guarantee (see "Recycling Facility Benefits from Energy-Efficient Processes").
The effluent produced by the facility has consistently surpassed permit requirements since operation commenced nearly five years ago. It routinely removes more than 99 percent of the biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids and reduces the nitrogen content of the wastewater by more than 90 percent. The final effluent is disinfected using ultraviolet light prior to discharge into percolation basins that aid in recharging groundwater.