The Fall 2018 edition of our "One Exchange" is now available! In this edition, hear from our CFO on M1W's transparent financial practices, learn about a farmworker housing complex getting connected to our system, and last but not least get a quick update on Pure Water Monterey.
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Our Agency was established in the 1970’s to create a regional system for the proper treatment and disposal of wastewater—the used water that goes down your drains, like sinks, washers, and toilets. As a public agency, we are governed by a Board of Directors who represent our member cities and regions.
Throughout the years, environmental requirements have changed and new technological advances have been developed. In response, the Agency has continued to adapt its processes to best meet the needs of the community. The greater utilization of wastewater led a committee of Board and staff members to investigate how the Agency could better represent its emerging roles in managing and developing water resources for the community. In 2017, the Board of Directors unanimously approved to change the Agency’s name from Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency to MONTEREY ONE WATER to better reflect our efforts and vision for a water resilient Central Coast.
CORE PURPOSE The Agency remains focused on safely treating the wastewater of our customers to diversify the area’s water supply and to protect the environment and public health.
WHY ONE WATER? As our regional potable water supply decreases, we must look to innovative long-term solutions. This includes evaluating all water resources for potential reuse. Like many communities around the U.S. and throughout the world, this has led us to embrace the “One Water” concept which values all water regardless of its history.
Transparency is a key value at Monterey One Water, and we are pleased to share our Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for 2017 qualified for the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada's Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting. This is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.
Providing Cooperative Water Solutions
Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency is now Monterey One Water, and our new logo has officially made its way to customer statements. So while your bill might look different in March or April, the services we provide remain the same: treat the wastewater of our customers to diversify the area's water supply and protect the environment and public health.
In 2017, the Board unanimously approved the new name to better reflect the Agency's vision to work with others to create a water resilient Central Coast.
Calling all high school and college-aged environmentalists and videographers!
The Water Awareness Committee of Monterey County Inc (WAC), a local nonprofit comprised of water agencies throughout Monterey County including Monterey One Water, and the Water Conservation Coalition of Santa Cruz County have partnered to host a bay area wide video competition for high school and college students.
The Task: Inspire others to save water or prevent water pollution by making a short newscast, skit, animation, commercial, or even a music video. The winning films will earn fabulous $$ prizes and be broadcast on TV and at local movie theaters!
Complete details including submission directions can be found here. Videos in both English and Spanish are welcome. High school and college levels will be judged separately with judges looking for incorporation of the theme, impact, creativity, informational accuracy, and entertainment value. The deadline is Tuesday, April 10, 2018 by midnight.
Spread the Word: Share this information via our Facebook post or this flyer.
On January 20, 2018, Monterey One Water (M1W) reported the unfortunate release of untreated wastewater into the ocean through its outfall pipe, which sits 2 miles off shore and 100 feet below the water’s surface. In response to the release, the Agency initiated an action plan based on the total of 4.9 million gallons of wastewater entering the Regional Treatment Plant during the timeframe of the release. After Agency staff reviewed the data and performed physical simulations of the incident, the final untreated wastewater release volume was calculated to be 2.87 million gallons.
What went out the outfall?
In the simplest terms, wastewater is used water. M1W predominately receives wastewater from domestic sources, coming from sinks, showers, washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, etc. Wastewater is over 95% water and as it moved through the outfall, the untreated wastewater mixed with other sources – treated wastewater and salt water from the California American slant test well, which are regulated waters routinely released to the ocean by M1W and other local agencies.
What happened to this wastewater?
As the combination of water sources traveled through the outfall pipeline, the dilution process began. A hydraulic model of ocean conditions and meteorological data at the time of the release estimated the dilution rate of 811:1 (811 parts ocean water per 1 part of wastewater). This dilution and mixing occurred in and immediately surrounding the outfall pipe. M1W laboratory staff sampled the surface water surrounding the outfall pipe within six hours of the release notification, and found no elevated levels of bacteria. In addition to sampling, the Agency contacted several area marine conservation centers that monitor animal health and no sick or injured animals were reported because of the release.
How did this happen?
The M1W Regional Treatment Plant is staffed 24 hours a day. Wastewater enters the Plant through a screen to filter out debris. As debris builds up, a rake clears the screen to keep water flowing smoothly. On the evening of January 19, the rake’s electronic control malfunctioned, and the alarm system did not alert the operator in the control room. The control room is the hub for everything happening at the Plant and the on-duty operator relies on continuous computer monitoring and alarms to maintain the Plant's operation. For employee safety during the overnight hours, the shift operator remains in the control room. As the screen became blocked, the water level in the holding structure rose and eventually overflowed into the ocean discharge pipe, bypassing the treatment plant.
What preventative measures have been taken?
Immediately upon discovery, the malfunctioning equipment was replaced and back-up systems were installed to ensure an event like this does not happen again. New redundancies include the installation of an infrared camera, satellite-based alert sensors that operate independent of the Plant’s computer system, and additional staff on the night shifts. In addition, M1W has worked with an independent consultant to complete a comprehensive evaluation of the equipment and procedures surrounding the event.
What is the role of the Regional Treatment Plant and Monterey One Water?
Monterey One Water’s Regional Treatment Plant processes the wastewater of 250,000 people in the area. In its nearly 30 years of operation, this is the only incident of its kind to occur at the Regional Treatment Plant. Wastewater that enters the Plant normally goes through mechanical, biological, and chemical treatment processes. The end result is safe, treated wastewater that meets or exceeds the regulatory requirements designed to protect public health, water quality, and the environment.
Treated wastewater then takes one of three paths: (1) the treated water moves to a third treatment process to become recycled water used by local growers to irrigate edible food crops like lettuce and strawberries, (2) the treated wastewater is released into the ocean through the 60-inch diameter outfall pipeline during periods when recycled water is not needed for agriculture, or (3) the treated wastewater will go through additional advanced purification processes once construction is completed on M1W’s new advanced water purification facility, which will treat the water to a level better than drinking level standards before being pumped into the ground for future urban use.
In 2017, M1W produced over 4 billion gallons of recycled water for reuse in the irrigation of crops, reducing the use of well water and benefiting the Salinas Valley Basin aquifer.
Both the staff and Board of Directors of Monterey One Water take this incident seriously. We are dedicated to serving our communities and customers, and we are committed to working with other agencies to enhance water supply sustainability and diversification for our region. The release evaluation process has been critical and will help the Agency assess our technology and procedures to ensure we remain a reliable and innovative community resource.
Transparency is an important value at Monterey One Water. Stay connected with Agency updates and communications through these platforms:
7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Fridays
5 Harris Court, Bldg D
Monterey, CA 93940