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CALABASAS : Water Plant Honored for Saving Energy

February 10, 1995|FRANK MANNING

The California Energy Commission has honored the Tapia Water Reclamation Facility for its efforts to conserve energy.

Ten waste water treatment plants and 16 water districts were selected for the honor from a list of hundreds of facilities throughout the state, said Rob Schlichting, a commission spokesman.

Tapia, a waste water treatment plant in Calabasas, was singled out because it was able cut energy use 15% last year through various conservation measures, he said.

"They are doing a remarkable job out there," Schlichting said. "They are far ahead of anybody else."

The facility, which turns sewer water into reclaimed water, has installed state-of-the-art computer equipment to monitor energy use, said Steve Witbeck, Tapia's water reclamation superintendent.

"We can track what each pump is doing to better control our electricity and reduce its use during . . . peak times of the day," Witbeck said.

The facility also uses high-efficiency motors that consume less electricity, said Schlichting. It also uses more efficient pumps to move water around inside the facility.

Tapia also is unique in that the treated water is generally cleaner than water leaving other, similar facilities, Schlichting said. Additionally, all of the water treated at the facility is reclaimed, another difference from other facilities.

Tapia was built in the mid-1960s as a joint venture of the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District in Calabasas and the Triunfo Sanitation District, which serves eastern Ventura County. The Tapia plant, which over the years has been revamped to increase its capacity, can turn 16 million gallons of sewage into water suitable for irrigation.

Tapia recently entered into a joint venture with the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District to construct the Rancho Las Virgenes Composting Facility in Calabasas. The facility turns sludge into fertilizer safe enough to use on gardens.

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