MSWD Opens Regional Water Reclamation Facility in Desert Hot Springs

A new regional sewage treatment plant is underway to serve nearby residents located in Desert Hot Springs and unincorporated areas of Riverside County.

On Friday, the Mission Springs Water District held a groundbreaking ceremony for its regional water reclamation facility. Located on Little Morongo Road near 20th Avenue, the project includes a wastewater treatment plant that is expected to treat an additional 1.5 million gallons of wastewater per day once it is operational.

It is expected to start operating in the fall of 2023. About 700 homes and businesses will leave septic tanks to connect to the sewage treatment system, according to MSWD.

MSWD operates two wastewater treatment plants, Desert Crest Wastewater Treatment Plant and Alan Horton Wastewater Treatment Plant.

MSWD Chairman Russ Martin said Alan Horton’s sewage treatment plant was approaching capacity. This facility previously suffered a spill of nearly a million gallons from a sewage percolation pond, for which MSWD faces fines for not reporting properly.

The new facility is expected to extend the operations of the Alan Horton Wastewater Treatment Facility by about 10 years by reducing its wastewater volume, according to MSWD. It processes about 2 million gallons per day and has a capacity of about 2.4 million gallons, said Marion Champion, program and public affairs manager for MSWD.

The Desert Crest Wastewater Treatment Plant treats up to 180,000 gallons per day, Champion said.

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Several city and MSWD officials spoke at Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony, including Martin, MSWD General Manager Arden Wallum, Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas, and Mayor of Palm Springs, Pro Temp Grace Garner.

Martin said the district first identified the need for the new sewage treatment plant in the mid-2000s. Then the Great Recession happened and it was not the right time, he said. -he says.

But now the Horton plant is approaching capacity, population has grown in the area and MSWD’s groundwater protection program has moved thousands of customers from septic tanks to a sewer system, Martin said. .

“This growth and the favorable grant and financing options make this the perfect time to build the new regional plant,” he said.

MSWD currently has $16 million in grants that will be used for the project, but is a finalist for another grant that would provide the district with the remaining funds it needs, Champion said.

It is developing two other related projects, which are the regional transmission line and the M-2 septic tank to the sewer. These three projects total approximately $68 million, according to MSWD.

Matas said the new facility will allow Desert Hot Springs and the region to grow further.

He referred to the Viento project, the huge e-commerce warehouse and distribution center that will be located nearby, on the east side of Calle de Los Romos, between 19th and 20th Avenue. The city recently settled with two environmental groups that had appealed the project’s approval.

“These factories here…this project, this project, is going to continue to snowball with other developments around it,” Matas said. “And without this project here…developers will walk away because they see infrastructure as one of the first things to do due diligence when they come to our city and region.”

Some community members also braved the desert heat to witness the groundbreaking. Desert Hot Springs resident Ronald Gilbert said the new facility is needed, though he’s interested to see if the district can afford it with the recent rise in inflation.

“Horton is almost at capacity, so the first thing to do is build a new factory,” he said. “I mean…we’d cripple our sewage system, we’d be stuck with septic tanks, we’d poison the water, over and over. Yeah, it’s like – you do this or fail then they do this.”

The new facility is located next to MSWD’s solar facility. In addition to the process plant, it includes the construction of an operations and administration building which will be used for things like chemical storage and electrical and blowing equipment.

Ani Gasparyan covers the western Coachella Valley towns of Desert Hot Springs and Cathedral City. Contact her at [email protected]

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