Suburban Water Systems Breaks Ground on Reservoir Replacement Project

The $24-million project is set to be completed in 2016

Suburban Water Systems has broken ground on the largest capital project in its history: A four-year, $24 million reservoir replacement project near the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Whittwood Lane in Whittier, Calif.

The Plant 224 project, at 15505 E. Whittier Blvd., will replace a single, 5-million-gal concrete gunite-covered earthen reservoir built in 1953 with two smaller, cast-in-place concrete reservoirs, one with a capacity of 4.7 million gal, and the other with a capacity of 2.4 million gal.

Grading and fencing on the site are nearly complete. Construction has begun on the plant’s pump station, which is scheduled to be completed in 2013. Construction of the first reservoir will take place in 2014 and 2015, and construction of the second reservoir in 2015 and 2016.

The plant is the major source of drinking water for 24,500 connections in Whittier, La Mirada, and unincorporated Los Angeles County.

Since Plant 224’s construction 60 years ago, the city has built up around it so it is now sandwiched between Friendly Hills on the north and Whittwood Town Center to the south.

Suburban has partnered with its neighbor, California Domestic Water Co., a small mutual water company that wholesales to Suburban and the cities of Brea and La Habra, to exchange land to accommodate the new plant. Suburban will construct new facilities on the neighboring property while keeping its critical existing facilities operating. Once the replacement plant is operational, California Domestic will redevelop Suburban’s former plant site.

The Whittier Planning Commission and City Council required the exterior design of the plant match the art deco style of California Domestic’s office, which was constructed in 1934 and was recently restored and reopened.

“The result will be a beautiful facility that blends in well with the surrounding residential and commercial neighborhoods,” said Craig Gott, Suburban’s vice president, engineering. “This reinvestment in infrastructure will ensure that Suburban can continue to provide its customers with a reliable, safe and abundant supply of water for the next century.”

Nearly three dozen people attended the groundbreaking, including Whittier’s mayor, council members, city staff, Chamber of Commerce representatives, plant construction contractors and representatives from California Domestic.

“The City of Whittier is proud to partner with Suburban Water Systems on bringing this vital resource to the community,” said Whittier Mayor Bob Henderson. “This site will help ensure quality water for future generations of east Whittier residents and help meet the growing water supply demands from the larger, surrounding areas.”

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