The EchoWater Project: Unprecedented Wastewater Infrastructure Investment for Sacramento

Water Seminar Series Flyer

When: Friday, May 1, 2015, 12 pm
Where: Sacramento State, 6000 J Street | Santa Clara Hall, Room 1207
Topic: The EchoWater Project: Unprecedented Wastewater Infrastructure
Investment for Sacramento

Speaker: Ruben Robles, Director of Regional San Operations, Sacramento
Regional County Sanitation District


This seminar series is open to the public. Food will be provided for the first
20–25 people to arrive.

By Ruben R. Robles

The EchoWater Project Name
We're calling this major upgrade the EchoWater Project to reflect how it will take our wastewater and return it to a clean, natural state, much like an echo returns to its original source.

The EchoWater Project is being built by the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) to meet stringent new treatment mandates by the State of California. This requires us to make the most significant upgrades to our wastewater treatment plant in Elk Grove since its construction more than 30 years ago. This new system, which must be operating by 2023, will produce cleaner water for discharge to the Sacramento River and increase water recycling opportunities by producing highly treated water that meets water reuse standards.

Improved Treatment Processes
Ultimately, EchoWater will boost plant processes to a higher level of treatment, featuring biological nutrient removal for ammonia and nitrates and advanced filtration and disinfection for pathogens. Currently, Regional San wastewater undergoes secondary treatment, which involves separation of solids, biological treatment to break down small organic particles, and disinfection with chlorine. While more than adequately meeting previous discharge requirements, only a full-scale expansion of our secondary process and the addition of new tertiary filtration will achieve compliance with the strict new mandates.

Benefits of the Project
The EchoWater project will provide long-term benefits to water quality and the environment. The improved quality of the treated wastewater released into the Sacramento River will help reduce potential impacts on the ailing Delta and protect recreational users downstream. The treatment technology required to meet the new regulations will provide Regional San with a ready supply of recycled water to deliver to future water recycling projects. Additionally, using recycled water helps preserve our precious water supplies, especially during drought conditions.

Cost of the Project
It is estimated that these new processes will cost between $1.5 billion and $2.1 billion to construct, plus approximately $50 million per year in additional maintenance and operations costs. These costs will be borne by ratepayers, with rates expected to rise to the mid-$40s to low $50s per month between 2021 and 2023. These increases, which have already begun, will be phased in gradually as the project is developed. Fees for connecting new homes and buildings to the system will also increase. For more Information, visit the EchoWater project website.

About Ruben R. Robles, P.E.
Ruben R. RoblesRuben Robles is the Director of Operations for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San). As director, he manages the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP) and interceptor collection system, which provides wastewater conveyance and treatment to over 1.4 million people in the Sacramento region. He is responsible for a staff of 350 employees working at the plant in operations, maintenance, engineering, safety, regulatory compliance, and laboratory. He is also responsible for the Echowater Project, which is a permit-required project that will increase the level of wastewater treatment at the SRWTP and is one of the largest capital improvement projects in the Sacramento regions history.

Ruben has worked for Regional San in several capacities over the past 23 years, including capital project delivery, maintenance and rehabilitation, development of the Regional Sans Asset Management Program, water and biosolids recycling, NPDES permitting, long-range planning, and implementation of a Regional Sans design-build project.

He is a registered professional civil engineer in the State of California and holds Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering, and a Masters degree in Business Administration from California State University, Sacramento.

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