The university’s Water Treatment Plant has earned a prominent industry award for superior maintenance and operations.
The Southwest Membrane Operator Association (SWMOA) recognized the treatment plant with its 2020 Outstanding Membrane Plant Award – Small Facility. The industry group lauded the facility’s “outstanding plant operations and maintenance and exemplary membrane treatment plant performance.”
Cal Poly Pomona is the only college in the 23-campus California State University system to have its own water treatment facility. Because the plant serves the campus community, the university is considered a public water agency.
“We are extremely proud of this award. The Water Treatment Plant is a prime example of the commitment our department has to the well-being of the campus community,” said Hope G. Spadora, the senior associate vice president of Facilities Planning & Management (FP&M). “But we can’t rest on our laurels. We will continue to work and improve our operations.”
The plant can treat 20,000 gallons of drinking water per hour, which amounts to more than 60 million gallons of drinking water annually. On a typical academic day, 489,000 gallons of potable water are consumed by the campus community.
The water is processed through a series of membrane filters that remove microscopic contaminants and is then disinfected with chlorine before it reaches faucets, drinking fountains and filling stations. The water treatment plant is part of FP&M operations.
“This award is the result of hard work by the staff at the Water Treatment Plant,” said Joseph Phillipy, interim chief operator of the treatment plant. “We are dedicated to providing the highest quality drinking water to the campus.”
Powerful pumps and large pipes convey groundwater from a campus-owned well to the university’s $8-million water treatment plant, which was proportionally funded by Proposition 84 (The Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply. Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006). The plant opened in fall 2015 and has been continuously providing the campus community with superior drinking water.
Water filtered through the treatment plant meets or exceeds standards set by the federal government. The results of campus testing are contained in the 2019 Annual Water Quality Report.
The SWMOA announced the award on Sept. 1 at a virtual ceremony necessitated because of COVID-19. The industry group is an affiliate of the American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA) representing the Southwest region that includes Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
The mission of the SWMOA is to enhance the professional development of the water treatment operator and the municipal and industrial applications they support. The association helps provide training and exchange of technical information to prepare membrane operators for the industry, which include symposiums, technical workshops, operator certification and outreach to students interested in the field of water treatment and technology.