Sharing some insight from a recent tour

Town of Los Gatos officials toured the Rinconada plant.

The team on the Reliability Improvement Project is always ready to take questions and provide answers about the work underway at the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant.

We’ve just compiled a short list of questions asked by the Los Gatos Parks and Public Works director, town engineer and staff during a recent tour of the plant and we’d like to share them with you and the answers we provided, courtesy of our project manager, Mike Munson.

Q: Why will this improvement project take so long to complete?  

A: We are building new facilities and upgrading others after nearly 50 years of continual operation. Yet, we need to keep the plant running 24 hours, seven days a week while we make these improvements.  There are numerous constraints on the contractor in how and when crews can work while we continue to maintain all the operating features of this plant to keep delivering quality drinking water to our customers.

Q: What is wrong with the current water treatment process?

A: I would not say there is anything wrong with the current water treatment process. The plant uses chlorine to disinfect our drinking water and it is a proven process that many plants use.  However, from time to time, there are challenges with the byproducts that chlorine produces.  By using ozone, the water district will eliminate these byproducts and provide even better tasting water with less odors.

Q: Why will it take another two years to have the ozone treatment operational?

A: The district is looking forward to adapting ozone, which is one of the best available disinfectants for water treatment. The new ozone contactor was built in a vacant area at the plant. To make it operational, we need to build the structure that produces the ozone. This building will be located where two clarifier basins currently exist.  In the next phase, we will demolish the old clarifiers, then construct the ozone generation building, which is estimated to be completed in 2019.

Q: What are these boxes and why are there so many of them?

A: On top of the new flocculation building there are more than 32 small generators needed to help with filtration process.  However, they can be noisy.  To eliminate noise concerns for our neighbors and workers, the plant will place these steel covers over the generators.

Q: What are the other advantages of this improvement project?

A: Besides upgrading the plant’s water treatment processes, the new plant will have more capacity to meet water demand and be better prepared to service the west side of Santa Clara County in an emergency or during a seismic event.

Q: What is the biggest challenge with a project this size?

A: It’s a combination of both internal and external factors. Some of those are the contractor schedule, cost control, neighborhood relations, consultant personnel and working with our own board of directors on budget and agreement requests.

We’ll add these to our FAQ page and any other comments you may have. Drop us a line anytime through this blog or by contacting your neighborhood liaison, Public Information Representative Tony Mercado at tmercado@valleywater.org or 408-426-1039.

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