Hemet / San Jacinto Constructed Wetlands
EMWD’s Hemet/San Jacinto Multipurpose Constructed Wetlands provides for additional treatment of tertiary treated wastewater from the San Jacinto Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility, environmental enhancement and creation of habitat, educational opportunities, and other public benefits.
The wetlands has fulfilled its multipurpose promise. It is now an integral part of the treatment plant, with proven improvement in water quality. It is also a haven for nearly 120 species of migratory and resident waterfowl, shorebirds, neotropical song birds, and raptors.
Additionally, the project has won regional, state, and national awards.
The Multipurpose Constructed Wetlands was stipulated by the PL-984 Loan which included a $7 million grant from the federal government. The original PL-984 contract required the District to develop up to 600 acres of wetlands at multiple sites. However, the Bureau of Reclamation accepted the Hemet/San Jacinto Multipurpose Constructed Wetlands as a high quality wetlands eliminating the need for the construction of the other PL-984 wetlands.
As a result of recent investigations by the State of California, Water Quality Control Board, there is an indication that the Basin Plan Objectives within the San Jacinto Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility service area will become more stringent. It is anticipated that the Regional Water Quality Control Board may apply a nitrogen standard to recharge water such as the District currently percolates into the Hemet and San Jacinto Upper Pressure subbasins, thereby making it easier for the District to comply with the new proposed Basin Plan Objectives. Wetlands may augment removal capabilities without necessitating the expenditure of funds on biological nutrient removal at the Hemet/San Jacinto Regional Water Reclamation Facility.
The wetlands provides a valuable asset to the community and supports the Strategic Plan Goal to increase public acceptance of reclaimed water. Public and educational use of the wetlands, as well as offering the wetlands as a site for research by others, provides recognition for the District, advances science, provides an opportunity to share technology, is low-cost, and provides tangible and intangible public benefits. Articles and research papers on the Hemet/San Jacinto Multipurpose Constructed Wetlands and the adjacent Wetlands Research Facility have been nationally and internationally published. EMWD coordinates and oversees the research but does not financially participate directly in that research.
This award-winning wetlands project introduced a new application — it is truly multipurpose — incorporating water treatment, recovery, and reuse with wildlife values, public benefits, and enhancement of environmental resources.