California Dolphin: statewide California news

Price tag for better tasting water just increased by $50 million

The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s water treatment plant in Los Gatos is nearing the mid-point of a massive modernization project that should result in better tasting water — and more of it.
The the project will boost the facility’s output from 80 million to 100 million gallons of drinking water a day.
But it will still be several years before people notice anything since the project is behind schedule and may not be completed until 2021.
The delayed completion date, coupled with inflation, has increased the price tag from a projected $250 million to $300 million.
“Construction isn’t going as fast as we wanted and time is money,” said Project Manager Mike Munson.
The 43-acre Rinconada Water Treatment Plant opened in 1967 and its age means it’s “getting feeble,” Munson said.
So, the modernization addresses more stringent infrastructure, seismic stability and water quality standards than were in place in 1967.
“The real benefit is the water will taste better,” Munson said. “Ozone will be the primary disinfectant, replacing chlorine. Ozone improves water quality and taste, and produces fewer disinfection by-products than chlorine.”
The treatment plant continues to operate during construction, which has proved somewhat challenging.
“Sometimes sytems have to be taken offline or we have to come up with new procedures while keeping the system running reliably,” said Operations Liaison Pierre Gouley.
Once Rincondada’s water has been purified for drinking, it’s  sold to companies like San Jose Water. They, in turn, distribute it to customers in Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills.
 

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