The Clovis Water Reuse Facility

In early 2009, the City of Clovis’ new, state-of-the-art Water Reuse Facility began producing up to 2.8 million gallons per day (MGD) of highly-treated recycled water. The water will be distributed through a network of purple pipes so that it can be used to irrigate green belts, median islands, parks, trails and paseos, State Route 168, and agricultural operations around the city.

The project is designed to allow multiple phases of future expansion. At its maximum capacity, the recycled water system will be able to produce and reuse up to 8.4 MGD of recycled water. By building out the Recycled Water Master Plan, the City will be better able to meet its projected water needs over the next 25-30 years while protecting our precious groundwater resource, reducing historic groundwater overdraft, and enhancing groundwater recharge.

The City of Clovis Water Reuse Facility is a key element of sustainable, environmentally-friendly water resource management for our community. City leaders hope Clovis’ recycled water program will provide a template for other communities that are grappling with issues of surface and/or groundwater shortages.

State-of-the-Art Technology

At its maximum capacity, the Clovis Water Reuse Facility will be able to produce over 3 billion gallons (or 9,400 acre-feet) per year of disinfected tertiary treated recycled water through a membrane bioreactor process. Three billion gallons of recycled water is equivalent to the total water used by 19,000 homes every year.

Membrane bioreactors are the latest, most advanced solution for recycled water treatment. They provide high-quality reuse water, exceeding the requirements of California’s stringent Title 22 regulations. The technology combines activated sludge treatment with membrane filtration.

The production of water of such high clarity, combined with the Ultra Violet (UV) technology, results in a lower cost to disinfect the water. The Cannibal process used reduces sludge production by 90% and eliminates the need for several treatment processes, thereby requiring less space than other treatment technologies to produce superior-quality recycled water.

In other words, this technology produces a higher-quality recycled water product compared to conventional systems and lowers costs by requiring less space for the plant and producing fewer solids that would otherwise require storage and disposal.

Public/Private Partnership

The Clovis Water Reuse Facility is the first tertiary treatment plant in California to be completed using a design-build-operate procurement method. While the City owns the Water Reuse Facility, a private engineering firm (CH2M Hill) designed and built the $40-million project and will operate the neighborhood-friendly facility through 2018.

This marks a significant step forward in terms of advancing the concept of public/private partnerships for advanced water reuse facilities in the state. It is also only the second municipal wastewater treatment plant in California’s Central Valley to receive a permit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board within the past 20 years, demonstrating the City of Clovis’ ability to partner with state regulatory agencies to gain consensus and approval on innovative treatment design.

Using Our Water Wisely

Every drop of recycled water that is used for irrigation or industrial purposes is a drop of precious drinking water saved. And every drop counts! From 1912 (when the City was founded) to 1972, groundwater was the sole water supply for the City of Clovis. But groundwater is not a long-term sustainable water supply and overdraft in the regional aquifer resulted in groundwater levels dropping over 100 feet in the last 50 years. Wells were going dry due to dropping water levels and the well field infrastructure was threatened by contamination of natural and man-made chemicals.

In 1972, Clovis obtained access to surface water from the Fresno Irrigation District (FID). Some of that water is used to recharge groundwater supplies; some is sent to the surface water treatment plant – which was completed in 2004 – where it is treated and distributed as high-quality drinking water. Additionally, some of the FID surface water remains untreated and is used to irrigate City of Clovis park landscaping. But water that can be treated to potable (drinkable) standards is a resource that is limited in supply and should therefore be reserved for the highest human uses whenever possible. That is why the City of Clovis took the necessary steps to develop a new water supply that is perfect for landscape irrigation and industrial applications. That new, sustainable water supply is highly-treated recycled water. 

Designed With the Neighborhood in Mind

The Clovis Water Reuse Facility is located on 16 acres situated north of Ashlan Avenue and west of McCall Avenue. In addition to the treatment facility, the recycled water system includes over 25 miles of pipeline and three pump stations that move the water to and from the treatment facility. As is done throughout the United States, the highly-treated recycled water leaves the plant in purple pipes, which makes it easy to distinguish the recycled water system from the drinking water system. 

To blend into its surroundings, one pump station, located near Ashlan and Leonard Avenues, was finished in the style of a 1940s “Craftsman” home. The garden area in the front yard of the “house” serves as the terminus for two paseos that are to be built as the area develops around the pump station. At the Water Reuse Facility, buildings incorporate features of the “Prairie” style architecture, which results in attractive, low profile structures. 

For all pump stations and the Water Reuse Facility itself, great care was taken to incorporate noise and odor control features.

Project Awards and Recognition

  • Design-Build Institute of America – 2009 Project Awards: Water/Wastewater Design-Build Excellence Award 
  • Global Water Intelligence – 2009 GWI Global Water Awards: Water Reuse Project Honorable Mention 
  • American Academy of Environmental Engineers – 2009 Excellence in Environmental Engineering: Design Honor Award 
  • WateReuse Association: 2009 Award of Merit 
  • Environmental Business Journal – 2008 Achievement Award: Water & Wastewater