Weymouth Water Treatment Plant silhouetted against a pink-blanket sky. Photo by Robert Allen.
The caption for the featured photo in last week's WaterTalk should have read:
Optimizing cell culture techniques to detect viruses for testing pathogen removal at Metropolitan's Regional Recycled Water Advance Purification Center.
A weekly newsletter by and for Metropolitan employees
September 3, 2019
After 78 Years, CRA Radial Gates Will be Replaced
Some of the equipment used to dewater Metropolitan’s Colorado River Aqueduct is about to get a big makeover. Thanks to Board action last month approving a $10.4 million construction contract, eight of the CRA's radial gates will be replaced during shutdowns scheduled for the winters of 2020 and 2021.

Principal Engineer Burt Yu made a presentation to the Board’s Engineering and Operations committee, explaining that these gates allow different sections of the aqueduct to be dewatered for repairs, maintenance and to release water in an emergency.

“After 78 years of continuous service in the harsh desert climate,” Yu told the committee, “significant corrosion has occurred on the gates’ steel frames and mechanical components, and the concrete structures exhibit cracking and spalling.”

The gates are at the Rice Wasteway, Vidal Junction Wasteway, Coxcomb Wasteway, Iron Mountain Wasteway, Hinds Sand Trap, Eagle Sand Trap, Eagle Wasteway, and Eagle Mountain Reservoir Spillway.

Each gate has a steel framework that resembles a slice of pie, with a curved plate that rotates to block flow when the gate is closed. During dewatering, a motor pivots the gate to the open position which releases water from the aqueduct.

The construction contract calls for installation of new stainless steel radial gates and electric motors, extension of the power supply, and other related repairs and improvements. 
Happy Trails to Met's Ceramics Clubs
The room offers a stark contrast: in the foreground, a once artsy ceramics shop displays the creativity that comes from molding, firing, glazing and painting colorful vases and kitchenware; in the background, pipes and valves are hard at work pumping water to Southern California.

Welcome to Metropolitan's Gene Camp Ceramics Club building, nicknamed the “hen house.” From an era gone by, it resembles a set from a Western ghost town. In its heyday, there was a ceramics club at each of Metropolitan’s desert facilities.

Some of the equipment - including kilns and molds - still exist, and a small inventory of pieces showcase the past glory of the potters’ craftsmanship.

“From the mid-1940s through the 1990s, the clubs were a source of pride for many district housewives. It was a fun diversion from the everyday duties of motherhood and a respite from hot, dusty summer days. It was just plain fun,” says Suzanne Wallace , a veteran desert administrative assistant, who grew up at Gene Camp in the 1960s.

Today, engineer Jessica Lowe and staff are cleaning out this building to re-purpose it as a library for the district’s original facility with equipment blueprints and drawings. The kilns and molds will be donated to local art clubs and schools.

“When you look at the details on the pieces that were made by the members of Met's ceramic clubs,” notes Jessica, “you can see the attention the ladies put into every single piece. It was a labor of love.” 
Keeping Our Water Safe Now...and in the Future
Lately, there’s been a lot of public and media attention on how water quality may be impacted by chemicals such as PFAS. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals widely used since the 1940s and found in consumer products like cookware, packaging and stain repellents.

This may be a new issue for some, but not for Dr. Carrie Guo who regularly works with these and many other emerging contaminants.

Carrie is the Team Manager for the Emerging Chemical Constituents Team. She started her career with Metropolitan as a chemist and recently celebrated her 20th anniversary at the District.

In her role, she leads applied research studies on emerging chemical constituents at Metropolitan’s Water Quality Lab. She and her staff focus on unregulated chemicals, closely following what is going on nationally and globally.

Carrie and her team help make sure that Metropolitan is prepared for future water quality regulations. This includes flexible and cost-effective responses and a state of readiness to confront emerging challenges.

She and her staff can detect chemicals at the parts per trillion levels. That’s a quantity equivalent to filling up the Rose Bowl with water and then finding 10 drops of a chemical.

Outside of work, Carrie enjoys reading and traveling with family. “At the lab, I get to work with some of the most talented chemists, microbiologists, and engineers,” she says, “and most importantly, I’ve made many friends along the way.” 
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