BOX 1-5 County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County Ground Water Recharge Projects
Since 1962, the Whittier Narrows Water Reclamation Plant (WRP) has used reclaimed water along with surface water and storm water to recharge ground water in the Montebello Forebay area of Los Angeles County by surface spreading of the reclaimed water. The reclaimed water makes up a portion of the potable water supply for the area residents that rely on ground water. From 1962 until 1973, the Whittier Narrows WRP was the sole provider of reclaimed water in the form of disinfected secondary effluent. In 1973, the San Jose Creek WRP began supplying secondary effluent for recharge. Some surplus effluent from a third treatment plant the Pomona WRP, is released to the San Jose Wash, which ultimately flows to the San Gabriel River and becomes an incidental source for recharge in the Montebello Forebay (Nellor et al, 1984).
The WRPs start their wastewater treatment with primary and secondary bio logical treatment. In 1978, all three WRPs added tertiary treatment with mono- or dual-media filtration and chlorination/dechlorination to their treatment regimes.
After leaving the reclamation plants, the reclaimed water is conveyed to one of several spreading areas (either specially prepared spreading grounds or dry river channels or washes). In the process of ground water recharge, the water percolates through an unsaturated zone of soil ranging in average thickness from about 3 to 12 m (10 to 40 ft) before reaching the ground-water table. The usual spreading consists of five days of flooding during which water is piped into the basins and maintained at a constant depth. The flow is then discontinued. The basins are then allowed to drain and dry out for 16 days. This wet and dry cycle maintains the proper conditions for the percolation process (Crook et al., 1990, Nellor et al., 1984)