Stone Canyon Water

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Upgrades in the Canyon

The Stone Canyon Water Quality Improvement Project has two goals: meeting tough federal surface-water regulations, and providing safe and reliable water to 400,000 Los Angeles residents.

By Dan RafterComments

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power budgeted $75 million for the project. Officials at the agency spent a decade working with surrounding neighbors. Construction ran from 2004 through the end of 2007.

It was, in short, a huge project. But, when the department officially wraps up its Stone Canyon Water Quality Improvement Project this spring, it will have accomplished two equally huge goals: The new water-treatment facilities will allow Stone Canyon to meet tough federal surface-water regulations. The project will also provide a safer and more reliable source of water to more than 400,000 Los Angeles, CA, residents.

It should be of little surprise that the Stone Canyon Water Quality Improvement project was such a large one. It is itself part of an even larger effort on the part of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to spend up to $132 million over five years to upgrade the security and safety of the city’s water system. The terrorist attacks of 9/11, spurred the city to tackle such a large endeavor.

“This is a project that we’ll all look back on as an important one,” says Kurt Wells, project manager with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. “It’s been one that the department has been working on for more than a decade, so it’s a nice feeling to see us get to the point where it is almost complete.”

The project is also one that can serve as an example to other municipalities facing massive water-treatment projects, that have several different goals attached to them. The Stone Canyon project was a challenge, certainly. But officials with Los Angeles’ water department met those challenges through careful and patient planning.

A Big Job
The main goal of the improvement project was to remove one of the two large reservoirs at Stone Canyon from service by January 1, 2005, the deadline for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to meet tougher state and federal water-quality regulations for open reservoirs in California.

The regulations, part of the Surface Water Treatment Rule of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, required the Los Angeles water department to take four of its open reservoirs across the city out of service, because the department had determined that they had the potential to be significantly contaminated by surface water runoff. One of the reservoirs that the department’s officials targeted was the lower reservoir at Stone Canyon, located in the Santa Monica mountains, about 13 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Stone Canyon, which features both an upper and lower reservoir, serves residents of the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica Mountains, and West Los

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