Nature: AVEK's Route to Top Quality Water



July 27, 2018


Contact: Dwayne Chisam, General Manager

Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency

Email:  =  Tel. (661) 943-3201


PALMDALE, CA: The communities of Rosamond, Mojave, California City, North Edwards, Desert Lake, Boron, Edwards Air Force Base and Lake Los Angeles are currently enjoying the finest quality of water from the Antelope Valley-East Kern Water Agency (AVEK) in the organization’s history.

One of the measures for determining drinking water quality is the concentration of a constituent known as trihalomethanes, commonly called THMs. In the last two years, THM concentrations in drinking water supplied by AVEK have been at record low levels since the implementation of an award-winning water treatment method called “geopurification,” according to AVEK Board President Keith Dyas.

“Geopurification may sound highly technical, but it isn’t,” Dyas said. “It is simply the percolation of raw water through many filtering layers of the earth’s soil, which is the way Mother Nature has always purified lake and river water for groundwater replenishment.”

“AVEK utilizes this cost-effective and efficient process to treat the water it receives from the California Aqueduct and provide high quality water to its customers,” Matt Knudson, AVEK’s Assistant General Manager, said.

Although AVEK, a water wholesaler, and its customers all benefit from the geopurification process, Dyas noted that those at the farthest reaches of the AVEK distribution system – Boron and Lake Los Angeles – see the most dramatic change because THMs continue to grow the farther the water must travel and the longer it stays in the pipeline.

“Geopurification has reduced THMs by up to 85% in Boron and up to 50% in Lake Los Angeles,” said Justin Livesay, AVEK’s Laboratory Director. “This drastic reduction in THM levels has provided our customers with a lot of wiggle room to ensure they are meeting THM regulations in their own distribution systems.”

AVEK converted from what Dyas called conventional industrial treatment, to the geopurification process to comply with stricter THM standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California State Water Resources Control Board.

“Recharge at our Westside Water Bank began in February 2011, with recovery of banked water starting in March 2014,” Jon Bozigian, AVEK Operations Manager, said, “and recharge at our Eastside Water Bank began in April 2016, with recovery starting in January 2017.”

Prior to implementing the geopurification process, the AVEK Water Projects Committee studied the methodology and launched testing efforts. Committee members monitored test results guided by input from David Ferguson, PhD, Principal Engineer at Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, and hydrologists from the U.S. Geological Survey.

To design a suitable system, “infiltration rates of the soil must be determined and the aquifer must be checked for adequate permeability and absence of polluted areas,” said Tom Barnes, AVEK’s Resources Manager.

“The geopurification process has allowed AVEK to exceed the stricter THM standards without expansion of costly capital (projects) and O&M expenses associated with operating staff (for) intensive and complex water treatment plants,” Knudson said. “It has also allowed AVEK to reduce chemical costs at our existing water treatment plants by blending the water recovered after the geopurification process … with water treated through our existing water treatment plants.”

AVEK’s geopurification project received the grand prize award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists in 2015. That national award honored AVEK for its ingenuity in creating a sustainable project that protects the environment.

 “Our board is extremely proud of the Agency’s success with geopurification for the benefit of our customers,” Dyas said. “This natural method of water treatment has helped us meet the THM drinking water standards at lower cost, with fewer chemicals and with superior overall water quality as compared to conventional treatment methods.”

“AVEK has been a regional leader in mastering this process,” Knudson said, “and continues to invest in these resources to ensure its customers will have the available water resources to meet their needs during future dry years and drought periods.” 

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