Water agencies across the state are lowering their water conservation targets and as I’ve seen around my neighborhood, some homeowners are back to over-watering their grass by flooding their front yard and watering the sidewalk. It would appear that mandatory water use cuts last year have become just a thing of the past.
As water use requirements drop, many agencies have wondered how this will impact residential recycled water fill station operations. Will recycled water haulers who visit any of the 22 recycled water fill stations in the state continue to fill up or revert back to using their sprinklers? How has activity changed month over month or year over year? We’ll show you the numbers.
Lets get started with June 2016 – Residential Recycled Water Fill Station Stats! 10 agencies shared their data with this blog this month. They are: Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, City of Brentwood, City of Healdsburg, Delta Diablo, Dublin San Ramon Services District, Irvine Ranch Water District, Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, LADWP + LACitySan, Sacramento County Regional Sanitation District (Regional San), and Scotts Valley Water District. (Clicking on their name will jump to their section.)
The below list is in no particular order.
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power + Los Angeles Sanitation
On Friday June 17th, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) in partnership with Los Angeles Sanitation (LACitySan) announced the opening of a residential recycled water fill station. Located in the parking lot of the Los Angeles Zoo and open on Tuesdays from 8:00AM to 11:00AM.
Residents can receive up to 300 gallons per operating day to bring home and water their lawns, flower gardens, trees and even vegetable gardens. As echoed all over the state, residents are willing to haul recycled water, saving precious drinking water supplies.
In the four Tuesdays the fill station has been open, 13 customers have signed up and 397 gallons have been hauled away, for free.
“The program is new and our hope is that the number of participants will grow as word spreads,” wrote Ellen Cheng, LADWP Public Relations Specialist, in an email to me.
The fill station at the LA Zoo won’t be the only place residents can go to pick up water. Heather Johnson, Public Relations Specialist at LA Sanitation said “we are waiting for final inspection approval from LA County Department of Public Health” for the opening of the fill station at the Los Angeles Glendale Water Reclamation Plant (LAG). LAG is located across the Los Angeles River and one exit south of the zoo.
Operating the residential recycled water fill station isn’t the only thing LADWP and LACitySan does with recycled water.
Heather continued, “the treatment plant in Glendale also produces 13.7 million gallons a day (MGD) of recycled water. The City of Glendale and LADWP use approximately 6.0 MGD of recycled water for irrigation. The City of Glendale also use it at their power generating station for cooling. The rest of the recycled water produced at LAG goes to the Los Angeles River.”
The Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant (DCT) in Van Nuys “produces 33 MGD of recycled water. The majority of DCT recycled water is used for Lake Balboa, the Japanese Garden, and Wildlife lake. LADWP also uses approximately 3.8 MGD of the recycled water at Valley Generating station for cooling water as well as for irrigation.”
Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San)
In June, Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District gave away 4,294 gallons to 28 vehicles. This brings their total volume served to 14,352 gallons at their Residential Recycled Water Fill Station.
Interest in the program is up as each week, 3-4 new customers have requested training for their program. Over the course of the month, 3 new residential customers have followed through. Their program now has 22 (12 this year, 10 from their pilot program last year) registered users. Many of them will come multiple times per week to pick up free recycled water, a common trend seen across the state.
City of Brentwood
The recycled water fill station at the City of Brentwood celebrated their one year anniversary on June 16th, 2016. Their year-to-date volume of recycled water that residents have hauled away is 20,695,000 gallons to 88,763 vehicles. Haulers averaged 233 gallons per load. In a city of 58,000 people, less than 3% of the population takes part in the free recycled water program.
I was invited to come tour the fill station and check out the process it takes to turn sewage into recycled water. Did you know, their operators can control the treatment plant from an iPad? Incredible! I also discovered why City of Brentwood has given away 22.7 million gallons of recycled water in 380 days. Between repeat visits and teenagers hauling recycled water to water the lawn, it’s like new age summer chores!
In the month of June this year, residential recycled water haulers took home 4,219,000 gallons. The fill station averaged 55 vehicles per hour. As of June 1st, they are open 80 hours a week. Ten hoses can each fill a 300 gallon tank in 2 – 5 minutes.
While this June was not the highest volume month in the past year, residents hauled nearly 1.2 million gallons in the first week of the month. Wow!
Dublin San Ramon Services District
Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) voted on June 15th to change to a 10% water conservation target. “While our customers are no longer required to limit their water use, we ask everyone to continue using water wisely,” said Board President D. L. (Pat) Howard. “Please fix leaks quickly, irrigate smartly, and rethink that thirsty front lawn. The water you save will boost the reserves we need for the future, because we never know when the next drought will occur.”
DSRSD is one of few fill stations in California that allows for customers outside their service area come to pick up free recycled water.
Did their new reduction target coupled with other area agencies also reducing their conservation goals reduce recycled water haulers demand at the fill station?
In May 1.3 million gallons was given way, this month, June, nearly 1.8 million gallons were given away. Bringing their total volume dispensed to 31.5 million gallons.
During the month of June, no new haulers signed up to take advantage of the free irrigation water program. To date, there are 3,705 registered users.
Las Virgenes Municipal Water District
“For us in southern California, the drought is not over,” wrote Brett Dingman, Water Reclamation Manager at Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.
Demand for recycled water by residential haulers has been pretty consistent. 4,720 gallons were given away for free in June, bringing their total distribution to date to 31,574 gallons.
What is obvious however, word is getting out in City of Agoura Hills, City of Calabasas, City of Hidden Hills, City of Westlake Village and the unincorporated areas of surrounding Los Angeles County that there is free recycled water available for landscape irrigation. In June, six new customers signed up for their program bringing total registered users to 74.
In June, the residential recycled water fill station at Delta Diablo in Antioch gave away 503,000 gallons* to customers to supplement their landscape irrigation. This is more than double the volume given away last month. This addition, when combined with the pilot program last year brings their total volume hauled away by registered customers to 2,739,000 gallons.
Did you know that Delta Diablo is required to supply cooling water to two power plants in the San Francisco Bay Area? I found that out when I interviewed them for an article titled “Water Resource Recovery Leader: Delta Diablo.” This past month, the article was picked up by the California Water Environment Association for inclusion in their E-Bulletin.
*Delta Diablo annually provides over 2 Billion gallons of recycled water for industrial, municipal, commercial and residential use in East Contra Costa.
Scotts Valley Water District
Scotts Valley Water District wowed us last month with sharing the fact that they’re in the planning phase to build an Indirect Potable Reuse facility. The fill station has provided SVWD an opportunity to provide public outreach efforts to educate the community about the benefits of recycled water.
Activity at their fill station has risen, last month 18,062 gallons of recycled water were given away to residents and customers in Scotts Valley. This bring their total distributed to 92,473 gallons (including the two months the fill station was open last year).
If you follow Scotts Valley Water District on Facebook, it would appear their marketing campaigns to bring awareness to their program is working. Last month, 9 new customers signed up to haul water home. This brings their total participation to 82.
City of Healdsburg
City of Healdsburg ran their recycled water fill station last year and gave away 111,947 gallons of recycled water to 26 registered users. The City of Healdsburg delayed opening their fill station this summer so they could hire an attendant. With attendant in place, wait times are low and supplies are full. Come on down!
The fill station re-opened on Wednesday, June 29th and in those two days, no one showed up. They’re open Monday to Friday, 9:00AM to 2:00PM.
Rob Scates, Water/Wastewater Operations Superintendent at City of Healdsburg Municipal Utilities Department said “I am afraid the lifting of the drought restrictions has dampened some of our efforts.”
Operating the recycled water fill station isn’t the only thing the City of Healdsburg does. Healdsburg is located in northern California’s wine country. Mr. Healdsburg (2011) Tej Sekhon describes the community as “laid back, environmentally conscious and agriculture is a big deal. Citizens are very community oriented.”
“Lately we have been serving more [recycled] water to some vineyards and construction/dust control projects.” It should come as no surprise that recycled water is used for vineyard irrigation. Rob continued, “we also have a vineyard irrigation pipeline extension project underway to reach more vineyards to the south of our facility, and are close to supplying [recycled] water to a local gravel company for their operations.”
Irvine Ranch Water District
Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) is one of five agencies that open their fill station 7 days a week. They’re open every day unless its raining and after the hot spell last month, when it’s too hot!
“June was another great month for us” wrote Matthew Veeh, Irvine Ranch Water District Public Affairs Manager. IRWD gave away 30,549 gallons, nearly double the previous months’ numbers. June 2016 has turned out to be the best month since the fill station opened in September 2015. This volume accounts for about 1/5th of the total volume served, which now sits at 148,349 gallons.
Word is getting out to their users, maybe the fact that Los Angeles opened a fill station sparked residents interest. Four new customers signed up for their self-hauling program, bringing total participation to 222 people.
Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
Central Contra Costa Sanitary District in Martinez has operated their fill station since October 2014. In that time, 13,613,138 gallons of recycled water has been served through their fill station located at their Household Hazardous Waste collection facility.
Since the last time stats were updated on this blog, CCCSD has given away an additional 1,512,891 gallons.
Amazingly, despite the two water agencies that provide potable water to CCCSD customers lowering their water conservation requirements, 28 new customers signed up to picked up free recycled water. This brings their total program participation to 2202.
The fill station will be closed on Saturday July 16th while CCCSD celebrates their 70th birthday. The entire community is invited to come to CCCSD’s headquarters between 10:00AM and 2:00PM. This family friendly event will showcase their services, treatment plant tours and include interactive games, educational exhibits, equipment and truck displays, free food and fun for the entire family. Maybe I’ll see you there!
Thank you to everyone that works hard to compile this data for your viewing. From the agencies that share their data with this blog both past and present, the total volume given away is now over 91 million gallons. As we’ve seen the average load size is around 233 gallons, this equates out to nearly 400,000 trips. Wow!
If you’re interested in hauling recycled water, find a recycled water fill station near you and check out our Getting Started guide for all the details you need to save precious drinking water and use recycled water for landscape irrigation.