New Wastewater Plant Addresses Development/Growth

(Northwestern Coachella Valley) —The Mission Springs Water District (MSWD/District) Board of Directors has awarded a $1.8 million contract for design engineering of a regional wastewater treatment plant to AECOM. The plant will be located about a mile east of Indian Canyon, north of Interstate 10. This will be the third MSWD-owned and managed wastewater treatment plant and will serve customers in the cities of Desert Hot Springs and Palm Springs, and various unincorporated areas of Riverside County.

The first phase of the plant will process about 1.5 million gallons of wastewater per day and will include the construction of an interceptor and collection system to bring flows from areas now utilizing individual onsite wastewater treatment systems (septic tanks).

The plant will also provide close access to wastewater treatment for the I-10/Indian Canyon commercial area which includes properties within the cities of Palm Springs and Desert Hot Springs. The District has proposed construction of a wastewater collection system in that commercial area to address what many property owners are calling a barrier to development—a state prohibition on wastewater discharge.

According to MSWD, the Regional Water Resources Control Board has determined that standard septic tanks are not able to treat wastewater to an acceptable level for discharge so close to the main water supply for the Coachella Valley, the Whitewater Basin. Even though Regional Board staff members state that the discharge requirements are not a moratorium, developers say that the cost of building small packaged wastewater treatment facilities on individual parcels has rendered many of their projects infeasible.

“The District has stepped up to the plate to provide access to wastewater service that makes it possible for commercial development to occur in the I-10/Indian commercial area.” said Arden Wallum, MSWD’s General Manager, “The construction of this $17.6 million regional wastewater treatment facility is a substantial statement that we are doing our share to make this happen. The ball is now in the property owners’ court to form a financing district to build the collection system.”

The treatment plant is scheduled to be completed in the latter part of 2018. The District’s master sewer plan shows eventual build out capacity of the plant at 20 million gallons per day.

For more information about the proposed collection system, please refer to the District’s website at

Publish Date: 06/14/2017