High winds greeted a few of the attendees at a Baja Water
Quality Meeting who climbed an exterior multi-story stairway to the top of a large cylinder
Anaerobic Digester at the Victor Valley wastewater treatment plant. Pictured (left) in
the late afternoon is Jeff Gaastra, president of the Newberry Springs Recreational Lakes
Association; Roberta "Bobbie" Willhite, county Agricultural Commissioner; Holly Shiralipour,
District Conservationist of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the USDA; and Logan
Olds, General Manager of the facility. In the background is a green vegetation
belt along the Mojave River; and further back is the TXI-Riverside / Portland Cement facility.
Posted April 13, 2015
Safety Of Sewage Sludge
A Baja Water Quality Meeting, was held Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the Victor
Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority's facility in Oro Grande. The 2-hour meeting
focused upon the sewage processing at the facility, laws and regulations, and the
safety of the sewage sludge after the process.
Although none of the VVWRA processed sewage sludge is trucked
to Nursery Products in Hinkley, California, it is felt that the VVWRA's facility offers
a similiar processed waste sludge to that of the urban waste sludge received at the
Hinkley processing facility. Newberry representatives wanted insight as to how
the urban sewage sludge, being trucked from Nursery Products to Newberry Springs, is
likely processed by wastewater facilities in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, and elsewhere.
The Oro Grande facility processes about 13.5-million gallons
of sewage per day, 24/7. As can be imagined, there are numerous steps that raw
sewage goes through after it enters the facility. A major step involves the waste
being subjected to bacteria for nearly two weeks.
Like a canary in a mine, the bacteria levels are regularly
monitored. Most hazardous materials mixed within the sewage sludge would likely lower
the normal bacteria count. If the bacteria count is below expectations, then
additional lab testing is initiated in hopes of identifying the cause.
With 13.5-million gallons of sewage being processed per day,
the politically set safety standards for the final discharged water appear very good; however,
lingering questions remain regarding the safety of the waste sludge withdrawn throughout the
Also attending the meeting was TedIStimpfel of the Newberry
Springs Community Alliance; Ellen Johnson, president of the Newberry property owners
association; Jehiel "Jay" Cass, Senior Engineer of the state's E.P.A.'s Regional Water
Quality Control Board; Bob Berkman and Fred Stearn of CEQA-NOW; and Annette DeJong of
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