EVMWD approves grant application to expand reclamation facility

Elsinore Valley Municipal Water Disctrict
Elsinore Valley Municipal Water Disctrict

The Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District approved the submission of a Water Reclamation Reuse Project Grant application for the district’s Regional Water Reclamation Facility Expansion project.

A 5-0 EVMWD board vote, Thursday, Aug. 27, adopted the resolution authorizing the submittal of the grant application to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and authorized the district to provide the required match funding. The grant is expected to save each EVMWD ratepayer $3.81 each month.

“It’s a big deal for the water district,” Phil Williams, EVMWD board member, said.

The Regional Water Reclamation Facility is located off Chaney Street behind the district’s headquarters. The facility currently is designed and permitted to treat 8.0 million gallons per day of wastewater. Approximately 5.5 million gallons per day of the recycled water is discharged to Lake Elsinore, approximately 0.5 million gallons per day is discharged to Temescal Creek, and a small amount is reused at the Regional Water Reclamation Facility.

The expansion would increase capacity by 4.0 million gallons per day. The increased capacity would be conveyed to identified users. A separate upgrade project which is currently under construction will improve existing plant reliability and redundancy for current wastewater flows. The expansion is expected to provide adequate infrastructure to meet EVMWD’s wastewater treatment and recycled water demands through 2030 based on the water district’s 2008 Master Plan and the 2016 Facility Expansion Master Plan.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has a Water Reclamation Reuse Project Grant program. The Bureau of Reclamation will accept project reports prepared for other purposes in lieu of a feasibility study, and EVMWD staff submitted that documentation, Jan. 21. The documentation was accepted May 7, and in July, the Bureau of Reclamation posted a funding opportunity announcement.

“I believe we have a very competitive application,” Serena Johns, EVMWD grants administrator, said.

The Water Reclamation and Reuse Program provides financial and technical assistance to local water agencies for the planning, design and construction of water reclamation and reuse projects and helps to facilitate private sector efforts to construct infrastructure projects meeting consumer needs. The federal share is limited to 25% of the total project cost. Cost sharing may be through cash or in-kind contributions from the applicant or third-party partners including loans or state funding, although any third-party financing must be secured and available before the receipt of the federal grant.

The State Water Resources Control Board has a Drinking Water State Revolving Fund which provides 20-year loans at interest rates between 1.5% and 3.0%. Previous EVMWD action on the expansion has included applying for a $129 million State Revolving Fund loan.

“We hope the interest rate will be around 1.7%,” Johns said.

If the water district obtains both the federal grant and the State Revolving Fund loan, the loan amount would be reduced. The federal budget includes $50 million for Water Reclamation and Reuse Program projects, and the grant application seeks approximately $10 million.

Joe Naiman can be reached by email at jnaiman@reedermedia.com.