The new West Hills Water Treatment Plant, off Union Road by the San Justo Reservoir will begin operation mid-August, ahead of its anticipated opening at the end of the year.
The $30 million plant will improve drinking water to approximately 4,000 households in the city’s growing west and central regions and help recharge and preserve the groundwater basin.
The new plant will treat higher-quality imported surface water from north of the state and blend it with local groundwater. The groundwater — up to now the region’s primary source of drinking water — is naturally higher in dissolved salts, which gives the tap water a salty taste.
This will change when surface water is blended-in. Once the new system comes online and the new water is phased into use, a blend of about 40/60 groundwater-to-surface-water-ratio will be achieved.
Word of warning, as the new, higher-quality water is phased into the pipeline system it may dislodge mineral deposits that the old water left in the pipes. It is possible that some homes or businesses may see a temporary change in the color of the tap water. Any change in water color is temporary – a normal effect of transitioning to the new water source – and is not a cause for alarm, according to the water district.
Anyone noticing a color change can let the faucet run for a few minutes to flush out the deposits. The City of Hollister will also be flushing its distribution pipelines to minimize effects and conducting increased water quality testing as these changes are made to improve the overall water quality.
“The start-up of the new treatment plant is a big win for the people of our community,” said Ignacio Velazquez, Mayor of Hollister in a statement. “This new blend of water will have less dissolved salts, so the taste will be much improved. Residents can consider getting rid of their water softeners, they can buy less bottled drinking water, and their appliances that use water should have less mineral buildup and last longer.”
The new water treatment plant will serve the west and central areas of Hollister, other parts of the city and surrounding areas are already served by the Lessalt Water Treatment Plant.