March 3, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District will hold a scoping meeting on Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Helix Water District Board Room, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. The meeting will provide an overview of the proposed El Monte Valley Mining, Reclamation, and Groundwater Recharge Project in Lakeside and what will be studied as part of the environmental impact review (EIR)/environmental assessment. The public will have an opportunity to provide written comments on what they would like to see studied as part of the EIR/EA.
The project is intended to provide a new local water source in an era when outside water supplies have become increasingly scarce due to restrictions on Delta pumping and drought on the Colorado River.
Helix Water serves the cities of La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove, the community of Spring Valley, and various unincorporated areas near El Cajon. The El Monte Valley project is intended to help meet the region’s growing need for water. As currently envisioned, it has three components:
• Purified water – The project would produce enough water to serve 15,000 families for one year – or approximately 15 percent of the District’s total water demand.
• Riverbed restoration – Revegetation of the riverbed with native plants and creation of a public recreation area, including multi-use trails for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use.
• Surface (sand) mining – Mining would re-contour the riverbed for the restoration project, address the region’s sand and gravel shortage and generate needed funding for the project.
The project would use recycled water that has gone through standard tertiary treatment, plus additional microfiltration, 100 percent reverse osmosis, hydrogen peroxide, and ultraviolet treatment.
The groundwater recharge element of the Project is planned to include a purified recycled water pipeline from the Santee Water Recycling Facility to the El Monte Valley. Water would then be further purified using up to 100 acres of recharge basins and/or multiple injection wells. The project would also include approximately 40 groundwater extraction wells, groundwater injection and extraction pipelines in the El Monte Valley; and a connection to an existing pipeline.
Helix officials have held meetings with El Monte Valley residents to discuss potential concerns, such as potential loss of potable water at several property owners’ wells as well as impacts on the environment. The District has published a “facts vs. myth” sheet along with other information that can be viewed at http://www.elmontevalley.com/ .
“Helix is committed to being a good neighbor,” the website states. “We are also committed to developing a project that can be enjoyed by current and future generations. The mining and restoration will occur in segments in order to reduce potential disruption to the surrounding community, wildlife, and vegetation. Replanting will begin after each segment is complete, and complete restoration will be staged at the end of the project.”