Poway receives $1 million in federal funding for water treatment plant
Poway officials on Monday received $1 million in federal funding for the largest capital improvement program in the city’s 40-year history — an eventual replacement of the city’s water treatment reservoir.
Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, joined Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and Shadi Sami, principal civil engineer for the city’s Public Works Department, in the announcement.
The Lester J. Berglund Water Treatment Plant clearwell, Poway’s 10-million-gallon treated water storage reservoir, was built in 1964. The clearwell is the city’s primary reservoir that stores the water treated at the Berglund Treatment Plant. The reservoir, located off Lake Poway Road, has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced, officials said.
Peters said he reached out to city councils to learn their priorities.
“We listened to those elected, who know best,” he said. “We know what Poway wants. We know what Poway needs.”
To replace the clearwell, the first step is constructing an intricate bypass system to store treated water before it is delivered to Poway customers. The cost of the bypass system is estimated at $7.3 million, according to Sami.
The $1 million, which was secured through the federal appropriations bill for fiscal year 2022, will be used for the bypass system, which is expected to be completed in July.
The total cost of the reservoir replacement is about $70 million, Sami said. Officials said they will spread the costs over future ratepayers, potentially through a bond.
Once the temporary bypass is complete, the clearwell can be taken offline and replaced. Officials said this federal funding will help the city ensure the reliability of drinking water for its water customers now and for generations to come.
“As mayor, I’m proud of how our city council, city staff, our team takes care of business,” Vaus said. “You hear me brag a lot about that we’re the safest city in the county but I’m equally proud that we are fiscally very conservative.”
“Four or five years ago when we started laying the groundwork for this project, we knew we were going to need some help,” he added.
The clearwell project is one of seven projects Peters said he fought to include in the 2022 federal appropriations bill. In total, seven projects for his district will be funded, totaling $5,862,500.
The City of Poway has also entered into a mutual agreement with the State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Drinking Water to bring the clearwell up to today’s industry design standards by including overflow structures with proper air gaps. New tanks — the next project in the series — will provide state-of-the-art infrastructure for the reservoir, officials said.