Upgrade of Channel Monster Cuts Wipes Problem and $78k from Electrical Bill

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Upgrade of Channel Monster Cuts Wipes Problem and $78k from Electrical Bill

When the Santa Margarita Water District (SMWD) was formed in 1964 by a group of ranchers who wanted a reliable water source for their cattle, the district served more cows than people. Since then, the area has grown to over 150,000 homes and businesses, and the SMWD maintains over 1,200 miles of water and sewer lines across a 62,674-acre service area.

Keeping up with both the water needs and sewage disposal of the community has come with significant challenges, particularly due to both the increase in influent and change in the makeup and durability of the sewage running through the district’s reclaimed-water facility. 

Built in 1977, the reclaimed water facility was initially intended to provide water for landscape irrigation in the district. During a typical 12-month period today, the facility brings in 680 million gallons of sewage and sends out 620 gallons of reclaimed water. Originally, the facility relied on a mechanically cleaned bar screen to remove debris from the waste system. Over time, safer, more reliable solutions came on the market, and the bar screen was replaced by a CMD single-drum Channel Monster from JWC Environmental that would shred debris before it reached the pumps, preventing clogs or damage. Ron Johnson, facilities supervisor for the SMWD facility, says pump clogging hadn’t been an issue since the Channel Monster was installed in the '90s — until two years ago, when the composition of the influent became heavily loaded with disposable wipes. 

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