Launch Slideshow

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Entrepreneurial expansion

Entrepreneurial expansion

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    Just behind Inland Empire's headquarters is a 1-MW installation of solar panels mounted d on single-axis trackers. They tilt up to 20 degrees to follow the sun's path throughout t the day, generating up to 30% more energy than fixed-tilt systems. Photos: Inland Empire Utilities Agency and SunPower Access

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    Recycled wastewater has kept the city of Chino's parks lush for at least 25 years, but it wasn't until a decade ago that Inland Empire Utilities Agency signed its first commercial customer: an injection molding company that uses 14 acre-feet each year in its cooling towers. Photo: Inland Empire Utilities Agency



Stimulus supports ‘purple pipes'

Reusing water is the ultimate conservation program, and California state authorities apparently agree. They approved Inland Empire Utilities Agency's $30 million plan to build new, or improve, infrastructure necessary to recycle an additional 10,000 acre-feet of wastewater annually to be funded almost entirely through the stimulus package.

The projects, which began construction last summer and are scheduled to be completed by this fall, include:

  • Two new pipelines, each about 13,000 feet, for a total of 2.5 miles
  • Building a pump station to boost recycled water to higher pressure zones
  • Converting a 2.5-million-gallon reservoir from potable water to recycled water
  • Installing five specialized monitoring wells to ensure water quality is maintained and to measure travel times for the recycled water.
  • In addition, two greenfield residential developments are fully dual-plumbed, meaning that each house has a treated-water piping system and a separate system with purple-colored pipes indicating recycled water.

    CEO and General Manager Richard Atwater attributes his team's success in accessing stimulus funds to a combination of factors: Employees paid attention to and followed tedious application details; and the project promotes conservation, so it received credit for promoting energy savings and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

    And, finally, plain old luck: Design/planning had been completed, so the project was shovel-ready.