Pictured: Domestic water supply pumps and Ion exchange treatment unit/
The Inyo-Mono Integrated Regional Water Management Program (IRWMP) and the Eastern Sierra Unified School District (ESUSD) are pleased to announce the completion of the Coleville High School Water Project. This project, which was started in June 2012, installed an ion exchange unit to remove uranium from the school’s source water and installed three water tanks to increase water storage capacity.
Many water sources in the Eastern Sierra contain naturally occurring metals such as uranium and arsenic, requiring water managers to treat water to meet water quality standards. Prior to this project, bottled water was the only potable water source for Coleville School students and faculty.
The objectives of the Coleville High School Water Project were to remove uranium from the source water, which exceeded the State drinking water standard, and to provide storage capacity for both the school and local emergency fire protection needs. In addition to the ion exchange unit being used to remove uranium, three 6,800-gallon storage tanks have been installed (one for raw water; two for treated water) to provide the campus with a minimum of four days of potable water. This water is also available for fire protection via two new fire hydrants.
Dan Jenkins, ESUSD Project Manager, praised the project as a culmination of more than six years of work among the School District, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and area engineers to find and implement a cost-effective solution for treating uranium in the school’s wells.
The construction of the project included erecting a new building to the west of the Coleville High School football field to house the equipment. The final inspection of the new equipment took place in March, and treated water is now being made available to the school for consumption.
Funding for the project was provided by ESUSD and two Proposition 84 grants administered through the California DWR and the CDPH. Proposition 84 was approved by voters in 2006 to support water supply, water quality, and natural resource protection efforts. DWR funding was provided through the Inyo-Mono IRWMP, which has been working to identify water-related needs and secure funding for water projects in the region since 2008. In 2011, the Inyo-Mono IRWMP was awarded a grant of $1,075,000 to fund seven on-the-ground projects that support improvements in water supply and water quality in Inyo and Mono counties.