Don't Be a Turkey With Your Drain
Cooking large delicious meals are part of many holiday traditions. Much of the traditional holiday recipes and meals contain fats, oils and grease (FOG) during the cooking process. Do you know what to do with greasy pans and fatty left-overs? 

Fats, oils and grease are some of the most destructive elements to sewer systems around the country. At Padre Dam, we work hard to keep our customers' sewer service running reliably every day of the year. However, materials that clog our systems such as "flushable wipes" and fats, oils and grease can cause expensive and time-consuming damage to pipes, including costly sewer back-ups. These substances wreak havoc on our community's sewer, and they can also effect your private sewer system! 

This holiday season when you are cleaning your pots and pans or dispose of scraps, be sure to scrape them into the trash can and use a paper towel to soak up any leftovers before washing them. You could help prevent a major headache for yourself and your neighbors on a day when everyone should be home celebrating. 
Advanced  Water Purification Joint Powers Authority Formed
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, appointed representatives from Padre Dam Municipal Water District, City of El Cajon and County of San Diego held the formation meeting of the East County Advanced Water Purification Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to serve as the governing body for the East County Advanced Water Purification Project. The creation of the JPA marks a key milestone in moving forward the project that will create a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify East San Diego County's recycled water.

The East County Advanced Water Purification Project, a partnership between Padre Dam, the County of San Diego, City of El Cajon and Helix Water District, has the potential to provide 30% of East County's current drinking water demands by 2025. Its goal is to help stabilize costs for agency customers and provide East County with more control over the region's water future. The Project proposes purifying recycled water to a near-distilled quality using four highly-advanced water treatment steps, before piping it to Lake Jennings where it will mix with imported water from the San Diego County Water Authority. In addition to creating a local source of water, the Project would nearly eliminate the need for the region to pipe wastewater to the City of San Diego's Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it is currently treated and discharged into the ocean. 

"This is an epic day in East County because water is life and we are going to provide a new reliable source of water," commented Gary Kendrick, JPA chair and El Cajon councilman. "I grew up in Santee and watched Santee Lakes being built and filled. We have come a long way since then and I believe that our children and our grandchildren will benefit from important water supply decisions we are making today."

The formation of the JPA comes on the heels of the news that the East County Advanced Water Purification Project has been selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to apply for $342 million in funding from the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. The Project is one of only 38 selected across 18 states to apply for loans totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments and create almost 200,000 jobs.

Contractors have already begun expressing interest in working on the design and construction of this Project. In one of its initial actions, the JPA Board approved the release of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Package 1 of the Project which consists of the water recycling facility, advanced water purification facility, visitors' center, product water pump station, solids handling facilities and extended facility commissioning. The RFQ was released to the public on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 and can be viewed at www.eastcountyAWP.com.
Padre Profile: Matt Jones
Matt Jones, Padre Dam's Compliance Specialist, is an integral part of a team that oversees and ensures water quality throughout the District.
 
When you think about delivering water safely to customers, you might think of how Padre Dam staff test the water quality and monitor the water system on a daily basis to ensure that it continues to meet or exceed all state and federal drinking water standards. What might not immediately come to mind is the more than 3,000 backflow prevention devices that Matt oversees in order to protect Padre Dam's drinking water from harmful chemicals or untreated water. These devices prevent backflow or back siphoning of water from the customer side into the public water system.
 
"I like to think of the Compliance Department as protectors of our community's drinking water system," commented Matt. "I have pride in coming to work every day and enjoy knowing that I am helping to provide a public service."
 
Backflow prevention devices are installed at homes or properties that use both Padre Dam water and well water or commercial operations that use chemicals in their operations. They prevent water from residential or business properties from entering the public water system. A 'backflow' condition can occur during main breaks or when a private pumping systems over pressurizes the public water system. Backflow devices ensure that no untreated water or contaminant is able to enter Padre Dam's drinking water system. Backflow devices must be tested annually by customers to ensure they are functioning properly.
 
Recently, Matt selected and implemented a new system for streamlining and automating the backflow testing process, which helps the District save staff time and streamlines the process to make it easier for customers to understand.
 
"We should always be looking for the newest, most efficient way to complete our work," said Matt. "It's our responsibility to make processes as easy and cost-effective as we can for customers."
 
In addition to drinking water safety, members of Matt's team ensure wastewater safety by working with restaurants to ensure they are maintaining grease traps in order to limit the amount of fats, oils and grease (FOG) that flow down their drains into the community's wastewater system. These common cooking substances can harden in sewer systems, causing blockages. By limiting the amount of these substances that travel through our system and performing regular cleaning of our sewer systems, sewer spills can be minimized.
 
Matt started at Padre Dam six years ago as a Utility Worker. He enjoys the mix of working outside in the community and on the administrative work he does for the District. In his free time, Matt enjoys horseback riding and camping with his wife and two kids. He will receive his Masters in Public Administration from San Diego State University in December. 


Click here to read past Padre Profiles. 

Padre Dam Earns District of Distinction Recognition
Padre Dam Municipal Water District's Board of Directors recently accepted the Platinum District of Distinction recognition, the highest accreditation for a district awarded by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF). This designation recognizes Padre Dam for its sound policies and practices in the areas of fiscal management, governance, Board conduct and transparency.

"We are honored to be one of only eleven special districts in California to receive the designation of a Platinum District of Distinction," said Allen Carlisle, General Manager and CEO of Padre Dam. "This accreditation highlights significant effort by Padre Dam staff and the District's Board of Directors to prioritize transparency and maintain excellence in governance and administration."

In preparation to earn the Platinum District of Distinction accreditation, Padre Dam completed requirements for and received SDLF's District Transparency Certificate of Excellence, which evaluates District policies to ensure compliance with State laws as well as the transparency of information shared on the District's website and through outreach programs.


Mountain View Road Pipeline Project

Ground has broken on Padre Dam's Mountain View Road Pipeline Project. This Project will improve water reliability to  customers in Crest, Alpine, Harbison Canyon, Blossom Valley and Dehesa by  improving water supply redundancy. This Project is vital to maintaining a reliable drinking water service to customers, regardless of infrastructure maintenance and repair.   

Once completed, the Mountain View Road Pipeline will allow for increased water flow during an emergency such as a fire and improve water quality by reducing the amount of time it takes water to flow through the system. Additionally, the Project proposes the installation of four new fire hydrants in the project area.

The Project involves installing two miles of water pipeline on Mountain  View Road, Frances Drive and Harbison Canyon Road between Horsemill Road and the 100 block of Harbison Canyon Road. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020.  

The Mountain View Pipeline Project is a part of Padre Dam's Capital Improvement Program, a component of the District's Five Year Business Plan which provides a road map to maintain and improve the District's $700 million of water, wastewater and recycled water infrastructure.