Liquid News

IRWD Employee With Finger on Recycled Water Pulse

If there is another possible use for recycled water, Irvine Ranch Water District employee Greg Herr will find a way to make it happen. For many of his 25 years at the District, Herr has worked to locate and convert areas not served with recycled water.

“I enjoy finding unique uses for recycled water,” Herr said. “It’s a very important resource.”

Three years ago, Herr was the project manager for converting Robertson’s Ready Mix Concrete in Irvine to recycled water use in concrete batch mixing. Industrial use of recycled water costs 40 percent less than domestic water, significantly reducing operations costs for customers. The plant uses approximately 20,000 gallons of water per day to process concrete.

Converting Robertson’s was the first such use for recycled water in Orange County.

Herr oversaw conversion of a portion of the Irvine Lake pipeline that serves 10 agricultural customers to recycled water for irrigation last year. This culminated more than two years of research and cooperation between the impacted customers, many departments within IRWD, and outside regulatory agencies to implement the project.

Up until that time, those customers were using water from Irvine Lake, which is supplied with untreated water purchased from Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, as well as native runoff water.

Herr is currently working to combine recycled water from the same meter to serve both irrigation and air conditioning cooling towers.

Herr began his IRWD duties in 1987 in the warehouse, where he spent two years before moving to the recycled water team.

 A few years later, he moved into planning and spent 10 years ensuring that IRWD engineering projects conform to the California Environmental Quality Act.

“But I never lost my interest in working on recycled water projects,” he said. “So in 2004, I transitioned back into working with the guys I enjoy so much and along-side the On-Site Group.”

It’s the creative work of promoting recycled water use that Greg enjoys so much.

During his IRWD tenure, he returned to school and received his bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degree in policy and planning. He also holds certificates in cross-connection and Distribution Grade II.

IRWD began researching and working toward recycled water for indoor use in high-rise buildings in 1987. The first indoor use for recycled water use was in October 1990, when a restroom building located in a park in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Irvine was converted for toilet flushing.

The following year, the first high-rise to convert to recycled water use for toilet flushing was the 20-story 3 Park Plaza in Jamboree Center in Irvine.

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