Consultant to aid RCSD with treatment plant
ROSAMOND — The Rosamond Community Services District has hired a consultant to ensure its wastewater treatment plant expansion and revamp is operationally sound and to set and procedures to meet regulatory requirements.
The Board of Directors on Wednesday unanimously approved two contracts with Bakersfield-based Aqua Operations.
The first contract, for $21,535, is to review the construction from an operational standpoint to avoid or address any problems that might impede operations once the plant is up and running, “and head them off before we get to the end,” General Manager Steve Perez said.
With a specialty in plant operations, consultant Michael Popichak, Jr., Aqua Operations president and chief financial officer, can
identify issues that the plant’s designing engineer may not have considered.
“I don’t have any problem picking on engineers,” he said. “They can design, but they don’t operate. We have to make those screw-ups work.”
“We’re going to give you that oversight,” Popichak said. “We’re just another set of eyes from an operational point of view.”
The second contract, for a maximum of $17,800, is to oversee development plans and procedures to meet the regulatory requirements set by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and the state’s Department of Water Resources.
Board President Greg Wood asked Popichak to evaluate the entire plant system as part of the contracted work to provide any recommendations for improvements that may allow it to perform better.
Popichak said that evaluation would be part of the review, with recommendations made to Perez.
“I’ve also learned that we’re not going to get perfect,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we’re not going to make progress and try to improve things.”
The total cost for the two contracts, $39,335, is included in the overall $15 million budget for the wastewater treatment plant project, according to the staff report.
Popichak is familiar with the District, working on training personnel with them in the past. He has 51 years’ experience in the field and has worked with numerous plants as they start operations, he said.
The revamped and expanded plant is expected to open in spring 2021 with a new name — The Rosamond CSD Water Reclamation Plant — to better describe its ultimate purpose.
In addition to handling the community’s wastewater disposal, the plant will recharge the underlying groundwater basin, providing additional groundwater for the District to pump.
The wastewater treatment plant project was developed as a means of addressing more than one issue facing the District.
The District has been under an order from the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board since November 2015 to reduce excess nitrates seeping into the groundwater from water treated to a secondary level at the wastewater treatment plant. The treated water is currently sent to evaporation ponds on-site, which have been found to be leaking.
An option to reline the ponds was deemed to be too costly and this alternative was developed.
This project will take the secondary-treated effluent, run it through the somewhat modified tertiary treatment equipment to remove nitrates, then percolate the resulting water into the ground.
This is intended to not only resolve the nitrate contamination problem with the regulators, but also recharge the aquifer, allowing the district to pump more groundwater.
The project calls for increasing the higher-level treatment capacity of the plant from the 500,000 gallons per day to 1.27 million.
Once it is fully operational, the existing evaporation ponds will be cleaned of the “sludge” left behind and abandoned.
Three new percolation ponds, where the treated water will be allowed to soak into the ground, will be built as part of the project.
The Rosamond Community Services District has contracted with an outside consultant to ensure its wastewater treatment plant expansion and revamp is operationally sound and to set and procedures to meet regulatory requirements. The $15 million project at the plant, shown here, will not only clean wastewater and remove nitrates, but also help replenish groundwater.