If things go according to plan, within the next few years both Hesperia and Apple Valley will have their own subregional wastewater treatment plants pumping out valuable reclaimed water.
“We can use it for our green belts in our housing tracts, our schools, our golf course, our parks and other big water users,” Hesperia Mayor Thurston “Smitty” Smith said, with the requisite “purple pipe” ready to go at many of those locations. “I think it’s critical for the years to come.”
For the last five years, Victorville has had exclusive access to the recycled water coming from Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority’s regionalplant simply because of logistics.
“It’s just very difficult to pump water that far,” VVWRA General Manager Logan Olds said, making it “cost prohibitive” to install return pipes from the regional plant in northern Victorville to the neighboring cities.
Then Olds learned infrastructure that directs flows from Hesperia and Apple Valley is nearing the end of its operational life and that it’d cost more to replace the equipment than to build subregional plants — with the added bonus of bringing in recycled water.
Unlike the plant Victorville has been building on its own near Southern California Logistics Airport , VVWRA will build and operate the plants in Hesperia and Apple Valley.
“ I think it’s just more common sense, a better use of the taxpayers’ money,” Smith said. “You can’t go alone. Victorville went alone now and now we’re looking at buying their plant,” with continued closed session discussion about VVWRA potentially purchasing Victorville’s project.
The Hesperia plant is being planned east of Interstate 15, near Maple Avenue and Eucalyptus Street, while the Apple Valley plant will likely take out a portion of Brewster Park.
Smith said he understands that the idea of having a wastewater treatment facility in your neighborhood might put some people on edge.
“It’s not the smelly, stinky thing that it used to be,” Smith said. “If it was next-door you wouldn’t even know it.”
Olds said he’s arranging a bus trip to Corona so residents can tour a similar plant that sits within 100 feet of a high - end housing development, with plans for even more odor control measures here.
Olds said both projects should be “shovel ready” in August, with designs and environmentals complete. From there, it’s a matter of financing.
The plants, which will be capable of processing up to 1 million gallons of wastewater per day, are expected to cost $25 million each. Olds said he’s working on grants, State Revolving Funds and bonds to cover those costs. Once construction gets underway, Olds said it should take two years to have the plants operational.
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