Water Replenishment District of Southern California to build $110M water treatment plant

An agreement with J.F. Shea Construction to build a $110 million state-of-the-art water treatment plant will enable WRD to develop the first locally sustainable groundwater basins in California.

WRD Board of Directors and J.F. Shea Construction sign historic water project construction agreement.
WRD Board of Directors and J.F. Shea Construction sign historic water project construction agreement.
WRD Board of Directors and J.F. Shea Construction sign historic water project construction agreement.

LAKEWOOD, CA., June 16, 2016 -- The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) on Thursday unanimously approved and signed an agreement with J.F. Shea Construction to build a $110 million state-of-the-art water treatment plant that will enable WRD to develop the first locally sustainable groundwater basins in California.

"This is an exciting day," said WRD Board of Directors President Willard H. Murray, Jr. "The Los Angeles region has a long and sometimes colorful history of importing water to quench our thirst. With this project WRD will be turning a corner in our water history. WRD's future will be built on water recycling, drought-proofing our water supplies and ending our reliance on imported water. All these new developments will be great for rate-payers and for the environment."

When the Groundwater Reliability Improvement Project (GRIP) / Advanced Water Treatment Facility (AWTF) is completed in 2018, WRD's two groundwater basins, the Central and West Coast Basins, will be exclusively replenished with captured stormwater and recycled water, much of which will be purified by the GRIP facility for safe and reliable groundwater replenishment.

GRIP will replace the need for 21,000 acre feet of water imported from Northern California and from the Colorado River to maintain water levels in the groundwater basins. With the GRIP/AWTF plant, water imports will no longer be necessary. Imported water is increasingly expensive and hard to acquire.

WRD groundwater supplies are the source of half of the water used by 4 million residents of south Los Angeles County who live in 43 cities.

The GRIP/AWTF plant, located in the City of Pico Rivera, will be the cornerstone of WRD's Water Independence Now (WIN) program, a suite of water conservation efforts aimed at helping the District achieve complete independence from imported water, the cost and availability of which has been aggravated by the state's continuing drought.

In effect, the GRIP/AWTF project will provide residents of WRD's service area with drought-protection.

Construction of the GRIP/AWTF plant is scheduled to begin this coming fall. The facility is expected to be up and running by 2018.

Shea has tremendous experience with this kind of construction. In recent years it has built the largest wastewater recycling plant in the world and the largest desalinization plant in the Western Hemisphere.

On April 7, 2017 WRD's Board voted 5-0 to select Shea to build the District's AWTF plant and set in motion final talks with Shea about the details of a design, build and operating agreement.

Additional Quotes from WRD Board and J.F. Shea Construction

Rob Katherman, Board of Directors Vice-President
"Because of this project, this District and the millions of residents who depend on WRD will no longer have to worry about droughts or disruptions to the giant aqueducts that now bring us imported water. Two years from now we'll be completely independent of imported water. I can't wait for that day."

John Allen, Treasurer, Board of Directors
"This is a great day for the District and for the 4 million people and the residents of 43 cities who are served by WRD. Two years from now we are going to be completely independent of imported water from Northern California and from Colorado River. This is a terrific day."

Albert Robles, Board of Directors Treasurer
"This project once seemed impossible but now it is inevitable. The road to here has not been easy. We started this project during a drought in 2004 when everyone was applauding the project. Then when we hit rainy times, people came to the board and said the project was no longer needed. But we stayed the course because we knew there'd be more droughts. And there were. And now we've finally in a drought again and WRD looks very smart for staying the course. I'm proud of what we've done."

Sergio Caldero, Member Board of Directors
"Imported water is a part of Southern California's history. People have done movies and books about this history. Now we at the WRD are declaring our independence from this history and setting out on a new path of water independence."

Robb Whitaker, WRD General Manager
"WRD and its ratepayers are extremely fortunate because we were able to secure $20 million in grant funding. The remaining $80 million will be financed with a low-interest long-term loan through a water bond funding approved by California voters. We're proud to say that this project will in no way adversely impact our rate-payers."

Peter Shea, Jr. President/CEO of J.F. Shea Company.
"Our company has built some of the premier public works projects in California, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Boulder Dam and more recently the largest wastewater to drinkable water project in the nation. We're proud and excited to be working with WRD on this project. The result is going to be terrific."

The Water Replenishment District of Southern California is the regional groundwater management agency that protects and preserves the quantity and quality of groundwater for two of the most utilized urban basins in theState of California. The service area is home to over ten percent of California's population `residing in 43 cities in southern Los Angeles County. WRD is governed by a publicly elected Board of Directors which includesWillard H. Murray, Jr., Robert Katherman, John D. S. Allen, Sergio Calderon, and Albert Robles.

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