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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 5:01 am | Mostly Cloudy 47º


Santa Barbara Recycled Water Plant Project Delayed Due to Design Mistake

Santa Barbara’s recycled water-treatment plant refurbishing project will take months longer, and more money, than expected due to a design mistake, so recycled-water customers will continue using potable supplies throughout the hot, dry summer months.

The recycled water facility at the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1989 and has been undergoing a major rehabilitation and replacement project since June 2014.

It was expected to be producing recycled water again by now, but completion has been pushed to October, according to Public Works Department staff.

Since the plant went offline, recycled-water customers including parks and schools, have been using the same potable water from Lake Cachuma and groundwater wells that residential and commercial customers use.

The city started the recycled-water facility project before it upgraded the wastewater treatment plant itself, meaning the recycled-water plant would be receiving a different water quality before and after the other project is finished, Public Works Director Rebecca Bjork said.

Usually the city would have waited to do the wastewater treatment project first, but the city wanted to get the recycled-water plant running as soon as possible due to the drought, she told the City Council.

The design firm, CDM Smith, used the wrong water-quality information in the plan’s specifications, so the wrong filtration membranes were purchased, city staff said.

The extra time and funding, which the City Council approved Tuesday, will be used to get the correct membranes installed.

City Attorney Ariel Calonne said the city expects to recover the extra funding, maybe through an insurance claim.

Council members approved another $1.3 million to get the project completed, including increased contract amounts with construction firm Schock Contracting Corp., MNS Engineers construction management, and Dudek for environmental monitoring.

That brings the total project cost to an estimated $13.6 million.

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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