Work is finally underway on a major renovation of the East Bay Municipal Utility District's Orinda Water Treatment Plant.
The facility was built in 1935. In addition to treating tap water for 800,000 customers in the East Bay, the plant boasts a historic landmark from the city of Orinda, a handsome original chandelier in the lobby and a semicircular bas-relief mural surrounding a weir.
The pipes and filters inside were in sore need of renovation. The plant treats about 120 million gallons of Mokelumne River water every day. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The plant is getting a new electrical substation, new self-cleaning filters and a huge valve that will allow managers to partly shut down operations for maintenance or in case of an emergency like an earthquake. Total cost of the upgrade is $22 million.
While the plant is shut down, customers will get water from reservoirs in San Leandro, San Pablo and El Sobrante. Sensitive palates might notice a difference in the taste of their tap water. That's because the same Sierra Nevada water is combined with runoff in local reservoirs and then treated differently, EBMUD officials said.
The plant is expected to be back online in April 2017.