"The equalization basin saves us money through avoided costs," said Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford. "And after this initial investment, we expect the payback period should be within the next five years."
The new basin provides the city with 2 million gallons' worth of reservoir storage space on the site of the city's water reclamation plant. Burbank had a 9-million-gallon capacity to treat water and could only treat the flow within the system. With the added reservoir space, the city can now treat up to 12 million gallons.
"It makes the operation simpler and more efficient," said Bill Mace, assistant general manager for water systems at the utility. "We can now easily utilize more of the water, and it solves the problem of changes in the flow."
Of the 673 million gallons of reclaimed water distributed in the last fiscal year, 65% was used to cool Burbank Water and Power's steam power plant and the remaining went to other uses in the city, officials said.
The utility will appear before the council later this month to report on the changes to the Recycled Water Master Plan, which will include an additional 326 million gallons of water to distribute in the city in order to displace the usage of drinking water for irrigation.
"It is really important and really beneficial," Councilman Dave Golonski said Tuesday after attending the basin's dedication ceremony. "It's not very sexy and doesn't make the headlines, but it's a good thing we have it."
Burbank will also be able to treat the water and pump it at night in an effort to save the city more money.
"We wanted to congratulate those who worked on this for a great project," Teaford said. "We were on time and under budget."
The 22-month project was funded primarily by user rates, capital reserves in the Sewer Fund and a $100,000 contribution from the Burbank Water and Power Fund.