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Photo via Recharge Fresno

Fresno recharges water system with major project

Fresno’s major expansion of its water system, the Recharge Fresno project, is nearing completion.

Recharge Fresno is an infrastructure project that will deliver treated surface water to more homes and businesses beginning the middle of this year.

“Many of the staff working here have been working on this project for well over five years,” said Michael Carbajal, assistant director of public utilities.

Increasing the use of surface water supply will allow Fresno to comply with state regulations passed in 2015 to stop the overuse of groundwater supplies. The changes will also allow Fresno to achieve the long-term goal of being drought resilient by reducing dependence on groundwater pumping while also replenishing the aquifer.

“The state is very heavily focused on reducing the reliance of groundwater,” said Kassy Chauhan, senior engineer with the state drinking water division.

The expansion of the water system will begin with water delivered to a new treatment facility for testing. A new surface-water treatment facility will be located in southeast Fresno.

The treatment process involves a series of steps to ensure that the raw surface water is purified and sanitized in order to meet state and federal water quality standards before it is delivered to customers.

Raw water will be taken from the Kings River and delivered to the treatment facility through a 13-mile, large-diameter pipeline.

A screen and other treatment processes will remove large objects and sediments before the water enters the pipeline. Then the water will be disinfected and filtered before delivery to water customers.

Little noise or odor is expected to be associated with this water treatment process. The testing process will continue through June 2018 as the facility is brought up to full operation.

“We are doing whatever we can to deliver a clean, safe water supply,” said Mark Standriff, the city’s director of communications and public affairs.

Most customers may not even notice the expansion of the city’s water system. However, businesses and institutions treating water for special use or processes may want to consult water quality and treatment professionals to assist with any necessary adjustments.

There may still be some changes in the water with pH, mineral content, alkalinity and hardness.

“The only things you should really notice is a little bit more softness because the surface water doesn’t have the kind of minerals you find in ground water and a little bit more water pressure,” Standriff said.

He said the city is expecting a smooth transition of the water supply.

Community members are encouraged to report any noticeable changes with their water as soon as possible to Resource Fresno at 844-FRESNOH2O or at online at RechargeFresno.com.

A ceremony is also expected to take place soon to announce the grand opening of the new Southeast Surface Water Treatment Facility.