STUDY: Vista Canyon’s recycled water won’t hurt environment

Excavators and workers create a form for a 700 foot long, 4 foot high by 8 foot wide storm drain as construction progresses at Vista Canyon development in Canyon Country in February. Dan Watson/Signal
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Vista Canyon – Santa Clarita’s first large-scale water recycling project – will have no significant impact on the environment, a team of local water officials and engineering consultants has concluded.

Members of Castaic Lake Water Agency’s Planning and Engineering Committee were expected to approve a recommendation Wednesday calling on the agency’s board of directors to adopt a study showing the landmark recycling project will not hurt SCV’s environment.

The study – called the Draft Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration – found “there would be no significant impacts” on the environment, according to a memo to committee members from Keith Abercrombie, retail manager of the agency’s Santa Clarita Water Division.

In order for the recycling plan to move forward, the CLWA must first adopt the study.

CLWA officials, working with Tebo Environmental Consulting Inc., looked at a wide variety of potential environmental impacts the project might create, from air quality and noise, to greenhouse gas emissions, and whether or not it would “cause a substantial adverse change in the significance of a tribal cultural resource.”

In the end, architects of the study concluded: no.

The project – called the Vista Canyon Extension – is expected to provide recycled water to the east side of Santa Clarita Water Division’s service area by using surplus recycled water made available from an on-site water reclamation plant to be built by the developer of Vista Canyon.

Funding for the project is expected to come, in part, from Proposition 84 grant funds obtained from the California Department of Water Resources.



Vista Canyon’s reclamation plant – commonly referred to as the Water Factory – is expected to generate about 415 acre-feet of water each year. That amount of water is roughly the same as 415 football fields under one foot of water.

The Vista Canyon development itself is expected to use about 137 acre-feet of water in a year.

The surplus of recycled water generated by the Water factory – about 278 acre feet of water per year, or about 278 football fields under one foot of water – would be available to the CLWA and its retail agency, the SWCD.

When the Water Factory starts generating recycled water, its surplus water is earmarked to serve “nearby existing irrigation customers in the nearby Fair Oaks community,” Abercrombie noted in his memo to the committee.

Once it’s finished, the Water Factory will have a tank expected to hold 100,000 gallons of water, and a pumping station to pump water to the CLWA.

The CLWA – as defined by the environmental study – takes that water and puts it through its own designated system, which includes:

– a million gallon recycled water tank.

– about 5,300 feet of “transmission” pipeline

– about 6,300 feet of “distribution” pipelines to customers.

– the potential for an additional 9,800 feet of pipeline to serve irrigation customers should additional supply be available.



Vista Canyon, proposed by Valencia-based JSB Development Inc., is a mixed-use housing project that calls for more than 1,000 homes to be built and almost a million square feet of commercial space on 185 acres across the Santa Clara River from Canyon Country Park. It would be located between Sand Canyon and Lost Canyon roads.

The builders refer to the recycling plant as the “water factory.” It would receive about 90 percent of the water leaving homes in Vista Canyon – from toilets to bathtub and kitchen sink drains. The other 10 percent – solid wastes from the same sources – would go to the Saugus Water Reclamation Plant for treatment.

The 90 percent would be treated at the “water factory” for the sole purpose of irrigating public areas such as parks. Planners emphasized the recycled water would not be for human consumption.

In June, the state water regulators gave Vista Canyon developers, JSB Development, the green light to proceed with the water-recycling plans, approving the necessary permits to do the job.

“Vertical construction” of commercial buildings on the Vista Canyon site was expected to begin in the next couple of months, Robert Newman, Public Works director for Santa Clarita told The Signal this past summer.

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