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With costs going up, Palo Alto ponders next steps for new water treatment plants

Original post made on Sep 7, 2022

Despite rising costs, Palo Alto and Valley Water are moving ahead with ambitious plans to build two water-purifications plants on a city-owned site on San Antonio Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, September 7, 2022, 4:03 PM

Comments (6)

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2022 at 10:36 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Are you kidding ? Black & Leach? Is this a joke??? Taking black (brown) water and leaching salt from it has ballooned in cost in 5 years from 20m to 52M. Price gauging is more like it Or. Must be the run away inflation from climate calamities, Pandemic, housing costs, wage disparities, and Wall Street volatility, and preparing for the big flood. I guess it makes absolute sense that I am paying $5.50 for a 6 pack of stale Top Ramen noodles that sat in a shipping container on the Bay for six months. Wether it’s Wall Street or Wal Mart, or climate — pre pandemic times it was .25 a package! The farthest East Side of San Antonio is where CC voted to push the unhoused and poor and elderly and disabled — Gosh at least we’ll have a gigantic lateen near by. You know, for those uncomfortable bathroom emergencies. I think this is Filseth’s and DuBois’ Egret song (These nest near waste water plants). Yeah those poor people, they can live out there, out of sight, sleep on polluted land, drive to low paying service jobs south. Taking the only mass transit available — a one way freeway entrance that ironically, dumps south of PA . The “potable” waste water (of the 2000 shunned PA border town residents) will also be flushed south of PA and far, far away. Let Mountain View and Los Altos pay for most of the Black & Leach $52M. Impoverished PA is coming in at $6M. I am not saying at all that the City is on the welfare rolls, not at all. But it does feel a little like the City Hall is out there pan handling with a sign, while hitchhiking to Mountain View right on San Antonio using everyone else’s tax dime to get “net zero” while getting a “free” lift in a Tesla! My only question. How will the stink stay south as well??


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2022 at 7:03 am

felix is a registered user.

More info would be helpful about the purification plant that the Water Board wants to locate in our Baylands.

Once the water is purified here, it will be piped to Campbell? For what purpose?

What are the negative impacts of pouring the concentrated salty remains from desalination into our Bay and marshland area? To the ecosystem - plant and wildlife, fish, etc.?


Posted by Tika Peterson
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2022 at 7:03 am

Tika Peterson is a registered user.

Is this recycled wastewater safe to drink? I thought our tap water came from Hetch Hetchy.


Posted by Paly Grad
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 8, 2022 at 8:18 am

Paly Grad is a registered user.

“The purified water would be exported by a new 20-mile pipeline to existing percolation ponds on a 70-acre site in Campbell where it would seep down to recharge the underground water aquifer. Such water is known as indirect potable water, since it would be pumped up from wells before it is treated at a drinking water treatment plant, Kremen said.”

Web Link


Posted by Barron Park Denizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 8, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Barron Park Denizen is a registered user.

A couple comments:

1. The engineering firm's name is "Black & Veatch," an decades-old and reputable company. Seems someone's spelling correction software got overactive.

2. It's a fair distance from the Palo Alto Wastewater Treatment Plant to the former Los Altos treatment plant site at the north end of San Antonio Road. Even longer is the 20 miles to the Campbell percolation site, or about 100,000 feet long. Even using innovative construction methods, would be $200 or more per foot, all in, by the time construction in this developed area could realistically happen, which quickly gets to $20 million or likely much more, plus the cost of a transmission pumping station and any intermediate pumping. Plus the present worth of power, maintenance, and other operating costs. Guess here is, not happening. Treating the water with reverse osmosis will be the easier part, if the brine concentrate disposal is OK'd by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.


Posted by Barron Park Denizen
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 8, 2022 at 12:53 pm

Barron Park Denizen is a registered user.

Rather than pumping this recycled water flow all the way to Campbell for indirect reuse, when that and other options are found not to pencil out, eventually we in north Santa Clara County will be "asked" to drink it directly as a supplemental source to the local potable water systems. Valley Water may be accustoming the citizenry to this eventuality, gradually countering what is known technically as the "ick factor." The highly-treated wastewater can be treated sufficiently to blend it into our fabulous Hetch Hetchy water, and the permitting authorities will get used to the idea as water shortages develop. But even given the probable technical feasibility, Valley Water should be straight with people about where we are likely heading.


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