The Goleta Water district newly expanded and refurbished its Corona del Mar Water Treatment Plant on Friday, October 26, amid much fanfare including a speech by Lynn Scarlett, President Bush’s Deputy Secretary of the Interior, who presented two oversized checks for $290,000, representing the portions of the work that were funded by grants from her department, including new monitoring capability and control mechanisms.
The rest of the $22 million renovation was funded by Goleta water customers. The plant is located at the end of Glen Annie Road, high upon a hilltop whose peak decades ago was bulldozed flat to accommodate the plant. The new flocculation system, in which solids are precipitated out of the water coming in from Lake Cachuma, is no longer motor driven but gravity-powered through a zig-zag configuration of reclaimed redwood baffles. This, along with other water treatment efficiencies, will save $3,300 monthly in energy costs.
The changes also include a much larger water testing lab necessitated by literally hundreds of new water quality testing requirements that have been added to the books in recent decades. The building housing the lab was refurbished with such energy-saving features as skylights, which replace most artificial light during the day. The district is hoping it will meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) “gold” standards, platinum being the highest rating.
Other sustainable design elements include construction materials with recycled content and diversion of most of the construction waste from landfills to be recycled. A $5 million upgrade in 2000 improved the activated charcoal water filtering system, among other things.