March 31, 2020
From the Manager
By Teresa Herrera
Here at Silicon Valley Clean Water, our top priority has always been the safety of the general public and our staff, and now with the COVID-19 pandemic, this has taken on a whole new meaning.

We want to reassure our community that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently stated that there is no evidence at this time that the COVID-19 virus has been transmitted through sewage systems, so the risk is thought to be low.

To ensure the community's ongoing safety, our SVCW facility is continuing to:

  • thoroughly disinfect wastewater in our treatment process, which includes recycled water.

  • remove 100% of pathogens and 97% of all solid and organic materials from the wastewater.

  • use required wastewater treatment practices, practice basic hygiene precautions, and wear personal protective equipment as prescribed for specific work tasks.

By effectively treating wastewater at an advanced, two stage biological treatment facility, SVCW helps keep San Francisco Bay environmentally clean and safe. We will continue making safety our top priority, and we hope that you do as well by staying at home, washing your hands frequently, and taking all the precautions outlined by the CDC.

For further questions about coronavirus and water, go here.

For more about SVCW wastewater treatment process, go here.
Response to COVID-19
SVCW Continues Operations During COVID-19-Related Staff Reductions
In response to recommended COVID-19 safety measures, SVCW shifted gears this month in order to continue operations as close to normal while contending with reduced staff. Only "essential workers" are currently on site.

Although we're operating with less staff, completed capital improvement projects over the last decade are now contributing to the ability to operate and maintain the treatment plant. While there are many more projects that improve operation and efficiency, here are a few of projects that reduce operator time required by former manual operations.

Valve Replacement Project
Staff assessed and replaced valves to improve reliability at the pump stations.

Vaughan Chopper Pumps
At the Redwood City Pump Station, the installation of Vaughan Chopper Pumps reduced the necessity of daily bar-screen raking during dry weather flows, which effectively chops all solids prior to pumping.

Automation Projects
Staff completed SCADA automation projects which have greatly improved operator control and process reliability even with fewer workers. A single operator on and off shifts can monitor and make necessary changes. Automation and remote computer access means other operators on call can monitor and assist onsite data collected, and alarm systems help operators with troubleshooting and process control.

Workers still on-site are practicing excellent hygiene and social distancing requirements.

For more information about SVCW capital programs, go here . To read the 2018 Capital Improvement Program update, go here .
We're on track and continuing to make progress on the Regional Environmental Sewer Conveyance Upgrade (RESCU), the rehabilitation and replacement of SVCW's conveyance system. When complete, it will ensure that for many decades to come, SVCW can efficiently, reliably, and safely convey and treat wastewater from its four member agencies. Those include Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood City, and the West Bay Sanitary District (which serves the cities of Menlo Park, Portola Valley, and portions of Atherton, Woodside, East Palo Alto, and unincorporated areas of San Mateo County).
Gravity Pipeline Project
Reaches Major Milestone
BBJV Project Manager Jack Sucilsky shares an update on the Gravity Pipeline at the CWEA event.
The gravity pipeline project a key component of the RESCU Program recently reached a major milestone when Salus, the tunnel boring machine (TBM), arrived at the first of two destinations.

Earlier this month, Salus broke into the 50-foot deep TBM retrieval shaft, located on the northern end of Inner Bair Island. To prepare for Salus' arrival, SVCW's tunnel contractor partner, Barnard-Bessac Joint Venture (BBJV), installed a grout plug in the wall of the retrieval shaft. When it reached this "Tunnel Eye," Salus bore straight into the grout plug, which is designed to seal the inside of the vertical shaft off from the soil and groundwater surrounding the shaft walls. One final step in preparation for Salus' arrival was to fill the retrieval shaft with water, allowing for a controlled, safe entry of the TBM into the custom-built receiving cradle that BBJV placed in the bottom of the shaft to protect the TBM.

Salus' second and final destination will be the SVCW treatment plant, which it is scheduled to reach in April 2020.

Read more about the gravity pipeline project here .
SVCW Logo Now on Headworks Facility and Front of Plant Project Continues
Shea-Parsons Joint Venture (SPJV) completes the SVCW logo imprint on the Headworks facility wall.
The Front of Plant project took a major step forward this month when SVCW's design-build partner, Shea-Parsons Joint Venture (SPJV), formed and placed the concrete wall of the Headworks facility and imprinted the SVCW logo onto the north side.

The team also poured and cured the base slab for the 70-foot deep vertical Surge and Flow Splitter (SFS). The SFS shaft is located immediately west (upstream) of the Receiving Lift Station (RLS) shaft, and will provide management of wastewater flows exiting the gravity tunnel and entering the RLS for pumping into the new headworks.  
During the two weeks the slab was curing, the SFS shaft was closed to all workers. SPJV shifted work to the 90-foot vertical RLS shaft and installed a temporary elevator to facilitate the efficient movement of staff. To ensure workers' safety, SPJV is using a personnel tracking board to track workers who enter and exit either of the two shafts.

Read more about the Front of Plant project here.
Pump Station Improvements: Modeling for Energy and Cost Efficiency
The Pump Station Improvements (PSI) team continues to review the design for the Menlo Park Pump Station rehabilitation.

SPJV is in the process of submitting designs to SVCW that include the preferred site layout, results of hydraulic modeling and physical model testing, and key equipment.

As part of progressive design-build project delivery, cost estimates are provided at the 60% milestone, after which a lump sum price for the project is negotiated with the design-builder, and then approved by the SVCW Commission. Once the final design is approved, the construction phase begins.

To ensure efficient operations of the rehabilitated and new pump stations, SVCW and SPJV are investing in a second design phase for physical modeling of the proposed Menlo Park Pump Station. Physical modeling, manufactured at one-tenth scale, ensures savings on long-term energy and maintenance costs on the full-scale system. It also helps support findings produced on the computer-based hydraulic model.

These physical models are built at Clemson Laboratory, which is the foremost laboratory of its kind in the U.S. The model is made of clear acrylic pipe sections to allow SPJV and SVCW to see how water moves through specific parts of the pump station. Water movement is also highlighted by injecting colored dyes into the clear pipes. Using specialized ports, the team is able to gauge pump operation efficiency by monitoring how water moves as it approaches the inlet of a pump.

Next month we will report on the results of the modeling, which are in the process of being prepared.

To read more about the pump stations, go here.