Completion of Lessalt Water Treatment Plant Upgrades Marks First HUAWP Milestone

Press Release

Date:  January 26, 2015
Contact:  Shawn Novack or Harry Blohm
Phone:  (831) 637-8218
Email:  info@hollisterwaterproject.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Completion of Lessalt Water Treatment Plant Upgrades Marks First HUAWP Milestone

Hollister, Calif. (January 26, 2015) – Upgrades to the Lessalt Water Treatment Plant are complete, marking the first major step in bringing improved water quality to the Hollister Urban Area.

Lessalt Water Treatment Plant

Lessalt Water Treatment Plant

The Hollister Urban Area Water Project (HUAWP) is a collaborative effort approved in 2013 between the City of Hollister, Sunnyslope County Water District and the San Benito County Water District to improve drinking water quality, protect the groundwater basin and help meet wastewater discharge requirements.

“Completion of the Lessalt upgrades is a milestone in a long-term effort to improve water quality for our drinking water customers, and to help protect our local groundwater basin,” said Harry Blohm, the HUAWP project manager. “Upgrading the Lessalt Treatment Plant allows us to reliably treat 2 million gallons of water per day (mgd). This the first step in a long-range plan that has been in the works for many years.” The $6.8-million project was completed on schedule and within the original budget. Surface water imported from the Central Valley Project (CVP) is treated to drinking water standards at the Lessalt plant and distributed to Ridgemark, Sunnyslope and the City of Hollister customers.

The next phase of the HUAWP is the construction of the West Hills Treatment Plant, which will treat up to 4.5 mgd of imported CVP water. Taken together, the Lessalt and West Hills plants will increase the quality of drinking water throughout the Hollister area. It will allow the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope to decrease its pumping of lower quality groundwater, allow water recycling for local crops and assists the City of Hollister and the Sunnyslope County Water District in meeting State Water Quality Board wastewater discharge requirements.

Improved water treatment will also reduce the mineral content in local drinking water, reducing the need for water softeners in most areas and contributing to longer life for many household appliances.

“This is a multiple-benefit project,” said Jeff Cattaneo, district manager for the San Benito County Water District. “It improves the quality of the water delivered to our local domestic water customers, it benefits agriculture by protecting groundwater and providing recycled water for irrigation, and it helps our region meet new water quality standards.”

A public Open House event will be scheduled in March. A specific date will be announced later. Tours of the new facility will be available and officials from the Hollister Urban Area Water Project (HUAWP) will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the project.

For more information about the Hollister Urban Area Water Project, visit the website at www.hollisterwaterproject.com or you can call Shawn Novack or Harry Blohm at 831-637-8218, or email them at  info@hollisterwaterproject.com.

HUAWP Part of Discussion at Drought Workshop

The Hollister Urban Area Water Project (HUAWP) was included in the discussion recently at a drought workshop. “Drought Workshop: Ways We Can All Save Water,” was held Thursday, Aug. 28 at Paine’s Restaurant in downtown Hollister. The free event was sponsored by the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors’ Bureau, Green Business Committee, FarmHouse Communications, the Water Resources Association of San Benito County, and the National Resource Conservation Service’s Hollister Office. Speakers included Harry Blohm, project manager for the Hollister Urban Area Water Project, and Shawn Novack, Water Conservation Program manager for the Water Resources Association of San Benito County.

Video of the San Benito County Drought Workshop event:

Water softener ordinance part of a long-range plan to protect groundwater

Strategy is to reduce the amount of salts in wastewater

By Shawn Novack, Benito Link

The Hollister City Council took an important step last week to protect our local groundwater supplies and meet state wastewater regulations when it approved an ordinance prohibiting the use of certain water softeners that produce high-salt wastewater. The City Council’s ordinance prohibiting the installation of self-regenerating water softeners moves the city closer to accomplishing the long-range goals for improving water quality and reliability and ensuring the economic health and quality of life in the Hollister community.

It is important to point out that the ordinance does not prohibit the use of existing water softeners, but prohibits the installation of new self-generating water softeners.

Phasing out water softeners is part of the a long-range plan for the area’s water supply that started more than a decade ago when leaders in the Hollister Urban Area developed a Master Plan to provide a safe and reliable water supply for Hollister’s future. The development of the Hollister Urban Area Water Project (HUAWP), a cooperative effort between the City of Hollister, San Benito County Water District and the Sunnyslope County Water District, is based on the Master Plan and solidified the long-range water supply strategy for the community.

A key element of that long-range strategy is reducing the amount of salts in wastewater, which contribute to high salt levels in groundwater. By reducing the source salt discharges created by water softeners, wastewater discharges will be able meet state regulations and will in turn reduce salts in the local groundwater basin. Our groundwater basin is a precious natural resource that provides critical water supply during times of drought.

At the same time the city is working to reduce salt in wastewater, the HUAWP is working to improve drinking water quality by upgrading and building new surface water treatment facilities. Improving drinking water quality will further reduce the need for water softeners, and protect groundwater.

The Hollister City Council should be applauded for their leadership and foresight in protecting our groundwater resources and remaining true to the vision of a safe and reliable water supply for the Hollister urban area.  The HUAWP is committed to the long-range vision of providing high-quality water to help ensure economic stability and contribute to a better quality of life for the entire community.

If you want to find out more about the Hollister Urban Area Water Project, visit www.hollisterwaterproject.com.

Shawn Novack
Water Conservation Program Manager
Water Resources Association San Benito County