The Coast News Group

Water district earns award

SAN MARCOS — Vallecitos Water District was named the “2008 Recycled Water Agency of the Year” at the WateReuse Association’s 2009 California Section Annual Conference on March 23. The district is the operator of the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility that recently underwent a $23.5 million upgrade to improve operations efficiency and increase recycled water output capacity.
To earn this unique distinction, Vallecitos was pitted against many worthy entries for the WateReuse awards committee to consider. But in the end, Vallecitos and its facility were found to be more in line with WateReuse’s goal of promoting water reuse through projects that most accurately reflect advanced, beneficial and efficient use of resources that benefit the public and the environment.
This recognition can be attributed in part to the upgrades that took place at Meadowlark between 2005 and 2008 that more than doubled output capacity from 2.25 million gallons per day to 5 million gallons per day. The complete overhaul included changes to processing, odor control, reliability, cost effectiveness and visual impacts.
With the ultimate goal of lowering overall demand for imported water into the region and reusing local resources, this conservation-driven project will generate enough revenue to cover the additional costs required to treat the wastewater to tertiary level, by selling the recycled water it produces to other nearby water agencies. By upgrading the plant, Vallecitos now has the ability to recycle up to 72 percent of the wastewater generated in its service area.
Meadowlark was originally built in 1958 as a wastewater treatment plant, and was rebuilt in 1981 as a water reclamation plant. It has received many accolades, including the San Diego Plant of the Year award in 1994 from the California Water Environment Association.