The Crescenta Valley Water District (CVWD) has been a public Special Water District since the mid 1950s; however, the name does not describe all that CVWD does. Since the late 1970s, CVWD has been operating and maintaining a sewage collection system in La Crescenta, Montrose and adjacent parts of the City of Glendale and the City of La Cañada. Without that collection system in place for the past 35 years, the District would not have been able to protect our precious local ground water basin from which we obtain about 60% of the potable water distributed to approximately 8,200 water service customers. CVWD also provides sewer service only to some adjacent areas.
The CVWD sewer system is a relatively young sewer system. Older adjacent areas of Glendale, Pasadena and Los Angeles have had sewer collection systems since the early 1900s wherever housing tracts were built. La Cañada is only partially sewered today.
CVWD collects wastewater and transports it via a pipeline to the City of Los Angeles Treatment Plant on San Fernando Road in Glendale near the Los Angeles River. There the wastewater is treated with much of the treated flow going into the Los Angeles River just south of the 134 Freeway. The CVWD flow and treated flow from the City of Glendale now make the Los Angeles River canoe-able in the Glendale Narrows year round. The part of the flow that cannot be made into aquatic safe water is carried by additional sewers in the City of Los Angeles sewer system to the Los Angeles Hyperion Treatment Plant located just south of the Los Angeles Airport (LAX) where it is further treated before being discharged off-shore on the floor of Santa Monica Bay.
For the wastewater collection by CVWD and treatment by the City of Los Angeles, the single-family resident cost is $33.75 a month. This amount appears as a flat rate amount of $67.50 on CVWD customers’ bi-monthly water and sewer bill. Approximately $1.7 million is paid annually by CVWD to the City of Los Angeles for the treatment and disposal of the wastewater.
In some similar agencies, the charge for sewer service is calculated based on a percentage of the water consumption on the property. CVWD has a goal to move into that form of billing in the years ahead keeping in mind that only a portion of the potable water used on a property ends up going into the sewer.
Prior to 1980, just about every home, school, and business in the area used septic tanks to dispose of their wastewater. One subdivision of Webster Wiley homes had a small treatment plant that provided treated water for irrigation of vegetated slopes in the area. The Webster Wiley tract homes are now a part of the CVWD system.
The pipe material used when CVWD installed the sewers, Vitrified Clay Pipe (VCP), has a pretty long life. CVWD personnel and equipment spend time flushing out the sewers and videoing sewers which have problems. All CVWD sewers are videoed every three years. Annually, some footage of the sewers has had to be repaired, including lining pipe, which has suffered problems. In 2014-15 there are 3,000 feet of sewers being replaced or relined in place.
CVWD does not own and maintain the sewer lateral generally located in the middle of the street, which connects the property served to the sewer main. The sewer lateral is the responsibility of the property owner to maintain.