CERRITOS – Long before Governor Jerry Brown declared a statewide drought emergency in California in 2014 and imposed mandatory water restrictions throughout the state in April 2015, Cerritos has been committed to conserving natural resources through the use of a recycled water distribution system, one of the largest systems in California with a 22-mile underground loop. Since 1988 when the system was constructed, the use of recycled water has saved approximately 815 million gallons of drinking water every year.
The recycled water system is used to irrigate more than 200 acres of City-owned property, including the majority of the City’s medians, parks, parkways, decorative fountains and schools. In addition, the recycled water system transports water to various local agencies, including the ABC Unified School District, Artesia Cemetery, Caltrans, Central Basin Municipal Water District, Cerritos College, Cerritos Post Office, Cerritos Regional Park, City of Lakewood and Valley Christian Schools. Various privately owned landscaped areas such as those at Cerritos Towne Center, portions of the Cerritos Auto Square and some churches, nurseries and housing developments in the City are also irrigated with recycled water. The recycled water is billed monthly at about half the cost of drinking water.
The City’s recycled water system currently provides approximately 2,900 acre-feet of recycled water annually, but has the capacity to provide up to 4,000 acre-feet, which translates into 1 billion gallons of water per year. Cerritos receives its recycled water from the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County’s Los Coyotes Water Reclamation Plant. The plant is located next to the 605 and 91 freeways in Cerritos and produces up to 37.5 million gallons of recycled water every day. Originating from industries, businesses and homes, the waste water is treated by a three-stage process by the Sanitation District before being used for irrigation.
Recently, the Cerritos City Council approved a proposal to construct a recycled water pipeline originating in the City and continuing through portions of Lakewood and Cypress to service the Forest Lawn Memorial Park. Once completed, the project will result in an annual savings of 250 acre-feet of drinking water. The expanded service to Forest Lawn also is expected to generate approximately $50,000 in annual revenue for the City.
“Cerritos has been a pioneer in the use of recycled water for more than 20 years, utilizing reclaimed water throughout the City on an annual basis,” stated City of Cerritos Mayor Carol K. Chen. “As a result of the City’s leadership and foresight in this area, the community is blessed with beautiful green parks, schools, lawns and landscaped areas, which are abundantly evident as one drives throughout Cerritos.
“With the latest service to Forest Lawn, the City’s recycled water system continues to benefit additional agencies,” continued Chen. “Cerritos is working diligently to share its innovative system with other cities and entities well into the future.”
For more information about the City’s recycled water system or water conservation, call the Water Division at (562) 916-1223.
Published: May 21, 2015 - Volume 14 - Issue 06