$10.6 million OK’d for sanitation upgrades
By Mike Harris
Saying that the proposed improvements to the Huston Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant were long overdue, Crestline Sanitation District’s five-person board unanimously approved spending $10.6 million for a major overhaul of the facilities.
“This has been a long time in coming,” said board president Matthew Philippe. “This has been a 12-year odyssey for us.”
Board member Penny Shubnell agreed: “I feel like a great weight has been lifted off us.”
Giving an example of how old some of the facilities are, one major component – the primary clarifier at the Huston Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant – was built in 1948 and went online in 1950.
The clarifier permits the heavier and larger particles to settle to the bottom of the clarifier. The particles then form a bottom layer of sludge requiring regular removal and disposal. Clarified water then proceeds through several more steps.
The upgrades also will include a new emergency generator for the treatment plant, as well as replacing the dewatering building with major upgrades.
“We don’t have an emergency generator at the plant right now, which means when Edison’s electrical power goes down, the operation goes down,” said operations manager Ron Scriven.
The upgrades and improvements at the Huston Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant will include:
• A new dewatering building with a new sludge holding tank, new sludge feed pumps, screw presses and odor control system
• New primary clarifier structure
• New emergency generator
• Replacement of trickling filter recirculation pumps
• Associated site improvements
Some of the existing equipment is so old that parts are no longer available.
The winning bid was presented by Pacific Hydrotech Corp., based in Perris, Calif.
Pacific Hydrotech’s bid of $10.6 million was the lowest of four companies who submitted bids for the project.
Pacific Hydrotech Corp. was founded in 1987. Since then, the company says it has grown to become a leader in the water and wastewater construction industry in Southern California and surrounding areas.
CSD’s board also awarded the engineering support portion of the project to Dudek Engineering, a Southern California-focused engineering firm based in Encinitas, Calif. The bid was $416,160.
As a way to provide an independent watch on the project, CSD’s board awarded project management and inspection services to one of Dudek’s competitors – Albert A. Webb and Associates. Webb’s bid for project management and inspection services was $887,300.
The major upgrade to the Huston Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is expected to begin in January 2022, and is projected to take 500 days – about a year and a half.
Rather than paying for the upgrade through public bonds, CSD’s board decided to use a combination of tapping its reserve fund and getting a low interest loan from the State of California.
“That’s why the board has been raising rates over the years,” said Philippe. “This is something we’ve had in mind for a long time.”
Currently, the district has about $8 million in reserves. About $3 million of that will go toward paying for the upgrades at the Huston Creek plant.
The rest of the cost for the improvements will come from a low-interest loan from Sacramento.
“It will come from the state revolving fund,” Philippe said.
The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program offers low cost financing for a wide variety of water quality projects.
CSD will be paying about a 2-percent interest rate, versus the possible 5 percent or higher rate had it decided to use public bonds for the project.