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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Davis completes largest capital improvement project


Ribbon ceremony held to celebrate opening of upgraded wastewater facility

On Oct. 24, the City of Davis completed the Wastewater Treatment Plant Tertiary Upgrade project, which took four years to finish and stands as the largest capital improvement in Davis. Within the budget of $95 million and projected time of completion, the upgrade was considered a success.

The project started in 2001 when the city received a new wastewater discharge permit by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Board to address wastewater in Davis and other needed improvements. Davis City Council then decided to support the master plan. In October of 2007, the water quality board discharged a permit, this time, requiring an upgrade in the wastewater treatment. The process of devising the plan was ongoing from roughly 2005 to 2009. Once completed, a target date for compliance was set in October of 2015.

Once costs were initially considered, starting at an estimated $219 million in February of 2009,  the staff requested additional years for construction in hopes of developing the most successful team and design possible. The team was assembled with the help of two UC Davis professors, Dr. George Tchobanoglous and Ed Schroeder. Schroeder and Tchobanoglous worked with city staff and AECOM/WM Lyles as the design-build team.

On June 24, 2014, the Council gave permission to “AECOM/WM Lyles a Joint Venture” as the design-build team, and the plan was set in motion.

“My brother graduated the year before I came, and I remember, while going to school here, he would keep me updated with the construction of this facility upgrade,” said Kathryn Zuercher, a second-year neurobiology, physiology, and behavior major. “His water quality class that he took at Davis allowed him to learn a lot more about wastewater treatment and how important it is — hence, his interest in the plant. It was just really cool to actually hear it is finished, especially in my time here at UC Davis.”

This new facility is more time efficient with an activated sludge process, compared to the previous overland flow treatment. Rather than taking up to 40 days to treat the water, this sludge system takes an average of 23 hours, handling 4.5 million gallons per day.

“We now have a modern, efficient plant that produces the highest quality water effluent required in California and will serve the city for many years,” said Davis Mayor Brett Lee.

The final goals included meeting state and federal discharge requirements found in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and providing an energy conservative plant that uses solar panels to monitor energy.

The upgraded plant also includes tertiary filtration advanced treatment facilities, a disinfection system and other modern equipment to guarantee the efficiency and success of the project. With the time, effort and money that was put into this upgrade, the facility earned the Envision Silver Award from the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure.

“It was a very satisfying feeling to see the ribbon being cut on this extremely important project that accomplished the state’s, as well as the city’s, desire to improve water quality and promote environmental sustainability,” said John Alexander, the wastewater manager for the City of Davis.

Written by: Lauren Tropio — city@theaggie.org


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