Main Office Phone Number (858) 514-4990
Spring Valley Operations Center Phone Number (619) 660-2007
After Hours Call Phone Number (858) 565-5255
The Department of Public Works (DPW) Wastewater Management Section (WWM) is responsible for maintaining sewer lines, pump stations, force mains and several treatment plants for the unincorporated areas of Alpine, Julian, Lakeside, Spring Valley, Pine Valley, Campo, East Otay Mesa and the Winter Gardens area. Wastewater flows originating within the communities of Alpine, Lakeside, Winter Gardens, Spring Valley and East Otay Mesa are transmitted to the City of San Diego metro system for treatment and disposal. The remaining communities of Julian, Pine Valley and Campo utilize "on-site" treatment and disposal systems.
This office also provides support services for other agencies such as County Parks, Sheriffs facilities and the San Pasqual Academy. The WWM office is also responsible for issuing sewer permits, plan checks for sewers, providing management and engineering services for capital and maintenance projects, sewer maps, billing, and general record keeping associated with sanitation districts managed and operated by the County.
DPW operates and maintains six wastewater treatment facilities at Julian, Pine Valley, W.S. Hiese Park, Campo, Descanso Detention Facility, and San Pasqual Academy. These facilities serve as collection and treatment for final processing systems and do not transmit flow to the City of San Diego.
From the time wastewater enters any of the six treatment facilities it (influent) undergoes physical, biological and chemical treatment for many hours before the treatment process is complete. Treated water is discharged via controlled irrigation or percolation processes. Treatment plant operators are state certified.
Treatment facilities are complex and remarkably efficient when treating wastewater. The State regulatory agency permit demands that there be no detrimental impact on ground water.
The physical treatment process begins when the wastewater enters the plant through the headwork's, passing through bar screens and grit removal basins. This initial treatment removes large, solid objects from the water that would otherwise disrupt the treatment process.
Next, the wastewater enters primary clarifiers where the flow is slowed to allow heavier, solid particles to settle and the lighter solids to float.
Biological treatment involves sending wastewater through advanced secondary treatment processes, which utilize aeration basins to remove 90-95% of the suspended solids and dissolved organics. Biological treatment also removes most of the organic nutrients. Secondary clarifiers enable additional settling of solid materials before the final treatment stage of disinfect ion. Solids separated during the process, commonly called sludge or bio-solids, undergo a stabilization process by aerobic digestion. The sludge (bio-solids) is dried in adjacent containment beds, stored in covered containment structures, and finally disposed of after testing in a sanitary landfill.
Operational checking and laboratory testing are required to effectively document the quality of treatment. The results are reported quarterly to the State Water Quality Control Board (SWQCB).
Upon completion of the treatment processes, the cleaned water (effluent) is chlorinated and then pumped to storage basins or percolation beds. Julian and Descanso irrigate the surrounding land. Rancho Del Campo, Pine Valley, and Hiese Park use percolation beds.
This section also operates and maintains potable water distribution systems at the San Pasqual Academy, Descanso Detention Facility and Campo. Potable water wells supply water and storage tanks (reservoirs) store the water for fire protection.
The distribution system is made up of water mains (pipeline), valves and fire hydrants. Service connections and water meters are also included in the system.
Collection & Transmission
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate goal, and the means to that end is safeguarding the public's health and safety. This section delivers millions of gallons of wastewater from homes and businesses everyday. Within seven sanitation districts, the section maintains a collection system of more than 450 miles of pipeline with 10 pumping stations augmenting the system.
In order to deliver wastewater safely around the clock every day, an aggressive preventive maintenance program is followed by the department's field operations section. Two-person crews are assigned to perform regular cleaning and inspection of lines by using high pressure water cleaners, sewer rodding vehicles, vacuum trucks and pipeline video equipment.
The overall strategy employed relies on a computer database which schedules, tracks, and alerts staff of recurring problem areas. In the event of a major problem, Wastewater Management has prepared a response plan which allows all the resources required to avert or control any situation. Calls from the public during normal hours are responded to by the closest available crew. After-hour calls are routed via the County's Communication Center to on-call personnel. Procedures require a controlled response. The person dispatched will call the customer and respond to the address given depending on the nature of the problem. Other personnel and equipment may follow.
The Section's regular and emergency equipment is some of the best available for the tasks assigned. The construction crew handles minor and major underground repairs. They also regularly assist the section to maintain manholes, collection system structures and facilities.
Pumping stations are also aggressively operated and maintained by section personnel. Daily, weekly and monthly checks, and tasks and alarm testing increase the service life and reliability of all equipment. Stations are linked to the main office via radio telemetry, enabling staff to obtain real-time status from miles away. In the event of a problem, the computer alarm system will notify personnel of the problem. All of the stations are equipped with redundant control systems, pumps, and overflow storage basins to increase the ability to avert a spill. All critical stations are equipped with emergency generators to supply power.
Collection system dependability is supported by office administration and engineering staff. Their tasks include customer assistance, permitting, planning, record keeping, budget administration, and reviewing work performed by the field operations team. Contracting of capital projects, major maintenance, and equipment replacement is contingent on their support.