MSWD Breaks Ground on New Regional Water Reclamation Facility

Friday, June 10 marked the start of the construction of Mission Springs Water District’s new Regional Water Reclamation Facility. Local business leaders, members of the public, and elected officials all gathered to celebrate.

Funded primarily by grants and low-interest loans, the new treatment plant will treat an additional 1.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. This new capacity will allow more homes currently using a septic tank system to connect to the MSWD’s treatment system. The state-of-the-art facility will also support the addition of tertiary treatment in the future, which would provide recycled water to enhance water conservation efforts.

“We’ve been talking about the need for the new Regional Plant for several years now, but the timing is finally right,” said MSWD Board President Russ Martin. “Current ratepayers will be shielded from the cost of the new plant through the use of state-funded grants and low-interest loans.”

MSWD Director Steve Grasha sent an email to news media, including Uken Report, to say he would not attend the groundbreaking.

Ground Broken for Water Reclamation Facility

Steve Grasha

“I will not be attending this event as the project has not received funding and I am concerned with the financial solvency of the agency as a result. It has become clear that this event is nothing more than a ratepayer financed campaign kickoff party for Nancy Wright who is up for election in a few months,” Grasha alleged. ” I am livid they are carpeting the desert with ratepayer funds knowing full well no funding source for the project is in place. We learned at the budget hearing last week the agency will run out of cash within this fiscal year as a result of this project.”

Grasha announced in April that he would not seek re-election to the MSWD board of directors. He will instead seek election to Desert Water Agency.

Located on land already owned by the District, the new plant is being built adjacent to the MSWD solar installation between 19th and 20th Avenues in Desert Hot Springs. The project includes the construction of a Sequence Batch Reactor (SBR) wastewater treatment plant. Two accompanying projects, the Regional Conveyance Line and the M-2 Septic to Sewer projects, are also under development.

“Together, these projects represent more almost $70 Million worth of capital improvements to the MSWD system, one of the largest endeavors the District has ever undertaken,” said General Manager Arden Wallum. “These upgrades will also alleviate a portion of existing wastewater flows currently going to the Allan L. Horton Wastewater Treatment Plant, extending the facility’s operational life by 10 years.”

Reinforcing the importance of wastewater infrastructure in Desert Hot Springs and the surrounding areas and how efforts like this help protect drinking water for the entire Coachella Valley, speaker Peter Satin, a Board Member of the Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board, spoke about the project and its benefits to our community.

Desert Hot Springs Mayor Scott Matas welcomed the new project, citing the need for expanded infrastructure as Desert Hot Springs was recently named the fastest-growing city in the Coachella Valley, according to 2020 census data.

Regionally, both Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt and Palm Springs Mayor Pro Tem Grace Elena Garner stressed the importance of projects like this that benefit the entire region and prepare us for future growth.

To watch the groundbreaking ceremony, visit the MSWD Facebook Page or for more information or to take an online tour of the plant, please click here. 


Photo caption above:

Photo (L to R):  Shayra Hernandez, Director of Stakeholder Engagement Congressman Ruiz’s Office; Miguel A. Romero Ochoa, Field Representative Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s Office; Grace Elena Garner, Mayor Pro Tem of Palm Springs; Jeff Hewitt, Riverside County Board of Supervisors, District 5; Scott Matas, Mayor of Desert Hot Springs; Peter Satin, Board Member, Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board; Russ Martin, President, Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors; Randy Duncan, Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors; Ivan Sewell, Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors; Arden Wallum, General Manager, Mission Springs Water District; Nancy Wright, Vice President Mission Springs Water District Board of Directors; and Esmeralda Perez, Board Assistant Riverside County Supervisor V. Manuel Perez’s Office.


Image Sources

  • Ground Broken for Water Reclamation Facility: MSWD