Spotlight July 2021: Valley County Water District Ready for New Century as it Marks 95th Year

  • by ACWA Staff
  • Jul 23, 2021
  • Newsletters

A drive-through event in May invited the community to join VCWD employees in celebrating VCWD’s 95th anniversary and included a restored antique service vehicle. Photos courtesy of VCWD.

Preparing for the future while celebrating its history, Valley County Water District (VCWD) marks its 95th year of operation this year as it builds a new centralized headquarters in its hometown of Baldwin Park.

The ACWA Region 8 member agency originally formed on January 18, 1926, as the Baldwin Park County Water District. It entered the 1950s serving a population of 23,000 with 5,479 meters and 2,760,000 gallons a day in consumption. By 1974, its service area was well developed, and potable water service was being provided to approximately 9,000 water service connections through an intricate production and delivery system covering portions of the City of Baldwin Park, the City of Irwindale, the City of West Covina, and the City of Azusa.

A resolution in 1977 changed its name to Valley County Water District as a means of better representing the expansion of the service area to include the portions of the four cities being served.

Since then, VCWD has experienced steady growth and development, currently serving 12,470 water delivery service connections. The retail water system is governed by a proactive five-member Board of Directors and provides drinking water to a combination of single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, industrial, institutional and governmental customers.

The district has overcome its share of challenges through the years. Improper use and disposal of industrial chemicals dating back to World War II revealed itself through soil and groundwater contamination detected in the San Gabriel Valley during the 1980s. VCWD built its Maine Street Water Treatment plant as a result. 

In conjunction with other regional efforts, VCWD built its two Nixon Water Treatment plants in 2004, followed the next year with the state-of-the-art Lante Treatment Plant going online as a groundwater remediation facility designed to treat up to 9.5 million gallons of water per day.

The district evaluated the efficiency of its existing facilities and capacity to meet water needs now and into the future in 2013, when a report identified storage capacity as a continuing deficiency. To resolve the issue, VCWD secured a $25 million dollar bond to invest in aging infrastructure. The district is now following a plan to centralize operations and administrative services into one facility, in the process opening up its existing operations yard for construction of two new reservoirs.

The district celebrated its 95th year of service by breaking ground on a new headquarters facility last February. The new facility will house all administrative and operations services, along with a vehicle and maintenance warehouse, at a single location. This will reduce overhead costs, improve communication, and enhance all District activities. The district’s investment will also improve the customer experience with payment kiosks, educational materials and workshops, demonstration garden, and tours of facilities such as its Lante Treatment plant across the street. 

 VCWD puts a premium on transparency and public outreach, work that has earned the district professional recognition. The Public Relations Society of America’s Los Angeles Chapter honored VCWD with a 2020 Prism Award for its Trust the Tap outreach campaign. In 2021, the District was granted registration for trademark of the Trust the Tap artwork and brand name from the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

VCWD also excels in another area – safety. The ACWA Joint Powers Insurance Authority awarded the district with its 2020 President’s Special Recognition Award for a low number of workers’ compensation, property and liability claims filed between 2016 and 2019.

“Valley County Water District has served the community since 1926 with great pride in knowing that our customers have a safe, reliable and affordable supply of drinking water each time they turn on the tap,” said Board President David L. Muse.  “We couldn’t be better prepared for entering our second century, and we owe our ability to achieve that goal to the dedication and hard work on the part of every one of our employees.”

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