By Tony Mercado, Rinconada Neighborhood Liaison
More than a dozen residents came to the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant on Feb. 21 to hear the progress report on the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s rebuilding of its longest operating water treatment plant. The work supports the water district’s commitment to keep drinking water safe and reliable by upgrading all major plant components.
The water district’s project team summarized construction work completed in Phase 2 of the Reliability Improvement Project. They outlined how the plant continues to provide clean, safe drinking water to the community during construction. Residents encouraged the district to continue keeping any new buildings from blocking views of the Santa Clara Valley, clamping down on speeding construction vehicles, studying future lighting impacts on the neighborhood and addressing the frequency of dust control vehicles scheduled to work in the area.
Phase 2: Progress and Next Steps
To date, district activities in Phase 2 include:
- Seismically retrofitted the operations building, where treatment plant operators ensure the smooth running of the plant;
- Completed the ozone contactor building that will enhance the facility’s ability to better handle and remove taste and odor causing compounds from raw water coming to the plant; and
- Completed the 9,600-square foot washwater recovery basin, which helps recycle all the unused water during the treatment process.
The district has about nine months remaining in Phase 2 and it expects to complete the work on the flocculation and sedimentation basins during that time. The basins allow particles to mix and settle to form sludge and separate from the water. The district does not anticipate any significant increased truck traffic or noise. Work hours will remain between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays with the truck route remaining the same. It will focus on:
- Placing electrical, mechanical and plumbing components inside the ozone contactor building;
- Installing 42-inch diameter pipes that will carry 100 million gallons of untreated water a day into the new ozone contactor;
- Installing a new electrical equipment pad;
- Building a raw water control facility
The district plans to tstart Phase 3 later this year, demolishing the existing clarifiers, which remove solids from the water. That work will last about six months and generate significant and unavoidable noise, dust and truck traffic. Building new filters will take about three years. Their completion will allow actual pumping of water through the facility.
March 2018 Activities
Oversized delivery coming
One of the largest deliveries for the project is scheduled for Monday, March 19, a roughly 100-foot long and nearly 15-feet high pre-fabricated building that will form the electrical equipment structure. The district is securing the appropriate haul permits and one-day no parking signs for More Avenue. Some tree trimming may need to take place. Plans call for the truck to come up More Avenue and turn left into the lower gate. It will arrive before 7 a.m. to adhere to regulations that call for these deliveries to be off the highways before rush hour traffic.
Granada Way street repairs
Street repairs from the gateway at Granada Way to Capistrano Place are now slated for summer 2018 rather than its initial plan in March to avoid potential rain and allow the contractor to better coordinate with the plant regarding access through the Granada Way gate for chemical deliveries. Hakes noted the district would replace any sidewalks damaged by trucks.
Neighbors Want to Know: Valley Views, Truck Traffic and What About Those Dust Sweepers?
Maintaining the valley’s clear view from the hillside has topped neighborhood requests since before the project started in 2015. As such. the new buildings will go no higher than its current 28-feet and lighting at the top of those structures will be turned inward toward the treatment plant to prevent “light pollution” into the neighborhood.
Within the next year, the district will install LED lights on the buildings to help treatment plant operators maneuver through the facility when conducting routine evening checks of equipment. They’ll switch the lights on for a few minutes to view the equipment and make sure it’s running properly before shutting them off.
“The lights will not be on all night. The plant will not be illuminated like AT&T Park,” Rinconada Plant Supervisor Steve Twitchell said.
Trucks will continue to arrive at the plant between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays and follow the route approved by the water district and the town of Los Gatos. When Phase 3 begins, trucks will still use the Granada Way gate to enter the facility. By the start of Phase 4, traffic routing may change with the opening of the main gate at the top of More Avenue that will allow trucks to more effectively route through the plant.
Chris Hakes, acting deputy operating officer for Treated Water Operations and Maintenance, said the district’s contractor would continue addressing speeding trucks and encouraged residents to make the team aware of any infractions, including trucks going off the designated route.
Streets too clean?
Some residents said the frequency of using street sweepers when the roads are clear results in more dust from the vehicles and damage to the asphalt caused by scraping. Construction sites typically use street sweepers as a Best Management Practice to minimize dust before it accumulates on the streets. Hakes said the district would look at its sweeping intervals, while balancing other neighborhood requests to continue the sweeping.
Stay in contact!
The water district has a Good Neighbor survey available now to collect your comments regarding the job it’s doing with the project and it’s impact on the community. The survey is quick to complete and can be accessed here.
Reach the project’s water district neighborhood liaison, Tony Mercado, at firstname.lastname@example.org, in his office at 408-630-2342 or by cell at 408-426-1039. Leave us feedback on the project blog and for quick action, open a customer response case at the water district’s Access Valley Water page.