Leo J. Vander Lans Advanced Water Treatment Facility Expansion Project
Long Beach, CA
Water Replenishment District of Southern California
CH2M HILL; CDM Smith
Flatiron West Inc.
$33 million
8 mgd

The Leo J. Vander Lans Advanced Water Treatment Facility in Long Beach, Calif., is the first of its kind. 

The southern California facility receives the tertiary treated effluent from the Long Beach Water Reclamation Plant and uses advanced microfiltration (MF) and reverse osmosis (RO) to further treat it. No other plant in the world uses this third-stage process. 

The result is water that is near-distilled quality, which is used at the Alamitos Gap Barrier. This series of barrier wells along the coast protects groundwater supplies from seawater contamination.

The facility currently produces 3,000 acre-ft of water per year. The facility expansion will double that amount to 6,000 acre-ft and reduce the area’s dependence on imported water. 

Residuals and backwash from the MF and RO concentrate from the existing facility are discharged into the sewer system. With pre-expansion waste streams of approximately 0.7 mgd, the plant already was dangerously close to reaching the existing permitted sewer discharge limit of 0.76 mgd. The challenge for the designers was to formulate an expansion of the plant without increasing the waste flow.

The design phase began in March 2010, but the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) has been conducting research and performing tests since 2008 in preparation for the construction. The design phase was completed in May 2012 and construction is underway.

“This innovative and creative engineering approach is expected to significantly improve efficiency and reduce operations and maintenance costs,” said Albert Robles, president of the WRD board of directors. “Upon completion, the Leo J. Vander Lans Water Treatment Facility will have the highest recovery rate of any MF/RO/UV indirect potable reuse plant.”

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