Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford, the only district board member to attend the meeting, also was concerned about the length of time it would take to put such a project into place. “Recharge is an admirable goal, but it is not a quick process,” Ledford said. Because the project is being done in phases, it is possible that recharge could become part of the districts’ strategy later on. It is also possible that municipal reuse would also cut down dramatically on the amount of acreage that would be acquired for crops. The districts’ plan is to acquire nearly 6,000 acres to the north and northeast of Air Force Plant 42. The land would be used for farming crops with tertiary-treated water and for siting reservoirs to store treated water during the winter months. The plant would be expanded in two phases, with the first phase costing about $150 million. The first phase involves upgrading the plant to provide tertiary, or third-step, treatment; constructing four storage ponds, each capable of holding 385 million gallons; and building water mains and pumping plants to deliver the treated water to agricultural lands. Tertiary treatment makes the water safe for human contact, such as swimming or fishing. The ponds would be completed by October 2008 and the upgrades to the treatment plant would be finished in fall 2009. The second phase would expand the treatment plant from 15 million gallons a day to 22.4 million gallons. Two additional storage ponds would be built. Effluent treated at the plant is used now for agriculture, but because the need for irrigation water is low during winter, the districts have been spreading it out at rates faster than the crops can take in. The plan also calls for the districts to encourage other agencies to use tertiary-treated water for municipal reuse, such as watering landscaping and golf courses. Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 “I have requested the district replenish the groundwater and have indicated an inexpensive, quick and environmentally safe method that can be easily monitored by Lahontan,” Nebeker said. “There is ample evidence to suggest the district is not only exaggerating the costs and difficulty of groundwater recharge, but are actively preventing such an alternative.” Also voicing support for groundwater recharge and municipal reuse is the Los Angeles World Airports, the city of Los Angeles’ airports department, which owns land immediately south of the proposed sanitation district facilities. John Slezak, attorney for LAWA, said the department believes state regulators would allow such a project. Sanitation district officials said they are interested in groundwater recharge, but that it would likely take as long as 10 years to put into place. Such a project would require permits from state water and health regulators, and an agreement with a water purveyor. Sanitation district officials also note that the region’s groundwater rights have yet to be determined by the courts, meaning that anyone can sink a well and draw out water. Putting district water into the basin at this time would be akin to giving away ratepayers’ water for free, they said. “The sanitation district will back a recharge project when the timing is right; those hurdles can be overcome,” said district spokesman Don Avila. PALMDALE – Critics are calling for Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts’ $271.5 million plan for its Palmdale plant to be dropped in favor of groundwater recharge and municipal reuse. At a district board meeting Thursday night on the project’s environmental impact report, critics said the plan disregards the option of recharging groundwater with sewage effluent that has been treated and purified. The comments came before a meeting in which the board was to have ratified the environmental study but did not because of lack of a quorum. Among the plan’s critics is Gene Nebeker, an alfalfa farmer and former member of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, the water regulatory body that covers the Antelope Valley.