‘A glorious day for the district’: Agreement signed for water treatment facility funds

Ground was broken on the project on 60 acres of land between 19th and 20th avenues in Desert Hot Springs in June. It is expected to be operational by next Fall.
Representatives from city, county state, and federal government break ground at Mission Springs Water District’s new Regional Water Reclamation Facility in June.

One of the largest projects ever undertaken by the Mission Springs Water District (MSWD) will now officially be paid for with funds from the State of California following a unanimous vote by the district’s Board of Directors.

Driving the news: On Thursday, the Board authorized an agreement with the State of California that provides $68 million in grant funding for the West Valley Water Reclamation Facility. MSWD General Manager Arden Wallum said the moment was made possible thanks to years of “tenacious” work by staff and Board members.

  • “This began over a decade ago, Wallum said during the meeting. “At the end of the day, this project has many aspects that all culminate in preparing the communities we serve for the future. … This is going to be our future.”

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Why it matters: When brought online, the new facility will treat an additional 1.5 million gallons of wastewater per day and allow hundreds of homes in Desert Hot Springs and the surrounding area to connect to the MSWD treatment system instead of using septic tanks. The facility is also designed to provide recycled water to enhance water conservation efforts.

  • A boost in capacity is necessary as Desert Hot Springs faces increased growth. Census data shows it’s fastest growing of all Coachella Valley cities. It has attracted not only home developers, but retailers such as Amazon as well. The e-commerce company plans to build a massive warehouse within the city limits by the end of 2023.

Zoom in: It was initially thought the project would be eligible for $16 million in state grant through both the Small Community Wastewater Program and the Groundwater Grant Program. But last year, after an additional $650 million in state money was provided to the State Water Board — with the hope of boosting septic-to-sewer conversions — the entire $68 million became available for the project.

  • “It is a glorious day for the district. Very rarely do you have anything over 10 or 15 million dollars. To get $68 million is just fantastic.” — Brian Macy, MSWD assistant general manager

Ground was broken on the project on 60 acres of land between 19th and 20th avenues in Desert Hot Springs in June. It is expected to be operational by next Fall.

Find more information on the project here.

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