SoCalGas, City of Escondido Create Renewable Energy From Sewage

Contact: Denise King, Southern California Gas Co., 877-643-2331,

Contact: Joyce Masterson, City of Escondido, 760-839-4621,

Demonstration project is first in California to purify methane gas from wastewater
treatment plant for potential use in homes and businesses

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Feb. 8, 2011 - Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and the city of Escondido today announced the official start-up of the first renewable energy project in California to purify wastewater biogas so that it meets state standards for natural gas delivered to homes and businesses.

The city of Escondido’s Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility is the test site of an innovative new pressure swing adsorption system that takes raw gas produced from the facility’s normal operation and upgrades it through a multi-stage process to pipeline-quality natural gas. Biogas from wastewater treatment plants is a largely untapped source of renewable energy. Typically, the raw gas originating from sewage treatment facilities is not suitable for natural gas pipelines and has to be burned, or flared, into the atmosphere.  By employing this new technology, the city of Escondido can produce enough natural gas to serve about 1,200 homes.

"The city is always looking for opportunities to take advantage of green technologies,” said Sam Abed, mayor of Escondido. “This project will demonstrate a new technology that will potentially reduce our city's carbon footprint by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions at the Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility,” he said.  “An added bonus is the fact that the recovery and reuse of this methane gas will save money for our city’s ratepayers."

The $2.7 million demonstration project is expected to continue for up to 12 months in order to prove that this technology can cost-effectively produce renewable natural gas that reliably meets California’s stringent gas quality standards. After that, the equipment will be put into commercial use on-site or, if necessary, moved to an alternative location.  The demonstration project will be funded by SoCalGas’ research and development group.

“This project puts the city of Escondido on the map for being the first to actually produce renewable natural gas from sewage wastewater so that it meets gas quality standards for injection into the natural gas pipeline system,” said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions at SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).  “This means San Diego residents might some day be heating their homes and cooking their food using renewable natural gas.”

Today’s announcement supports SoCalGas’ vision for sustainable energy.  In November, SoCalGas and SDG&E filed a proposal with the California Public Utilities Commission seeking authorization to develop, own, operate and maintain bioenergy production and gas conditioning facilities that would transform organic waste from water treatment plants, farms and other operations into renewable natural gas suitable for power production or injection into utility pipelines.

Power generated using biomethane as a fuel qualifies as clean, renewable power.  Thus, the increased availability of pipeline-quality biomethane is expected to help electric utilities meet California’s aggressive renewable energy goals.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.9 million consumers through nearly 5.8 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles throughout Central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).  Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.


Escondido Wins Three Wastewater Awards


Contact: Nicki Branch, 760-839-4298

On Saturday, January 29, 2011, the California Water Environment Association, San Diego Section (CWEA) awarded the City of Escondido's wastewater facility and staff three awards for excellence.

The City's Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility (HARRF) was awarded "Plant of the Year, 2010" Award criteria included certification level of operators, facility accomplishments, permit compliance, benchmarking, process control, pretreatment strategy, biosolids processes, financial condition, training & safety, public relations, energy conservation, inventory control, innovations, maintenance strategy, maintenance efficiency, and in-house trades of staff.

Sarah Hooper, Operator at the HARRF, won the "Operator of the Year" award for outstanding performance and dedication to the field of plant operations.

Christina Moran, Associate Chemist at the City's HARRF Laboratory, won the award of "Laboratory Person of the Year", for outstanding performance and dedication to laboratory water quality analysis.

CWEA is an association of professionals in the wastewater industry, committed to keeping California's water clean. The CWEA program seeks to recognize outstanding achievements within the wastewater field, improve the professional status of all personnel working in the wastewater industry and related fields and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the water environment.

three City of Escondido award winners will now go on to compete at the CWEA state of California level.


Annual State of the City Address to be Held in Morning


Contact: Joyce Masterson, 760-839-4621

In a departure from past practice, Mayor Sam Abed and the City Council will hold Escondido’s Annual State of the City Address at a morning meeting co-sponsored by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce. The event will be held in Salons 1-3 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 beginning with a breakfast at 8:00 a.m. followed by the program at 8:30 a.m.

The meeting is open to the public.  A breakfast is available for $10 per person by prior reservation to Michele Pacheco at 760-745-2125 or at The deadline to reserve breakfast is 5:00 p.m. on February 8, 2011. Persons wishing to attend the event may do so at no cost, if they are not eating breakfast.


Escondido Residents Asked to Curtail Non-Critical Water Use


Contact: Lori Vereker, 760-839-5432

Due to the exceptionally heavy rainfall, runoff is seeping into the Escondido sewer system creating a strain on the Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility’s ability to process wastewater. Residents are asked to curtail non-critical water use, such as operating washing machines, dishwashers, etc. until the heavy rain stops. This will help to avoid having to discharge tertiary-treated wastewater into Escondido Creek.

Secondary-treated wastewater normally is discharged into the ocean through the outfall off of the San Elijo Lagoon, however the heavy flows are on the verge of overwhelming that system.


Workshops on Water and Wastewater Rates


Contact: Lori Vereker, 760-839-5432

The City of Escondido will hold the following public workshops to provide information and answer questions on the proposed water and wastewater rate adjustments:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Workshop for Agriculture customers
Mitchell Room, 201 N. Broadway
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Thursday, January 6, 2011
Workshop for all customers
Mitchell Room, 201 N. Broadway
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Workshop for Spanish speaking customers
Mission Middle School, 939 E. Mission
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm


Road Closure


Contact: Lt. Craig Carter, 760-839-4487

Lake Wohlford Road Northbound and Southbound from East Valley Parkway through Oakvale Road will be closed until further notice due to roadway obstructions (rocks and debris).

Motorists traveling in this area should expect delays and are encouraged to use an alternate route, if possible.


Applications Accepted for Potential Appointment to Escondido City Council


Contact: Marsha Whalen, City Clerk, 760-839-4617

The City of Escondido is accepting applications for a potential appointment to the City Council to fill a vacancy that will be created when Councilmember Sam Abed is sworn in as the elected Mayor of Escondido on December 1, 2010.

The term of the Council seat is from the date of appointment to the next regular municipal election on November 6, 2012. Candidates must be 18 years of age, reside within the city limits of Escondido, and be registered to vote in the City at the time the application is accepted.

Candidates must complete an application and respond to a supplemental questionnaire in order to be considered. Verification of voter registration will be confirmed upon submittal of the application. The packet is available online (PDF / Word), by request to the City Clerk, or by phoning 760-839-4617. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, November 24, 2010, at 5:30 p.m.

The City Council will be discussing the vacancy procedures and potential appointment following the swearing-in ceremony on December 1, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. They may take action at that time or within the required 30-day period thereafter.

In accordance with California law, the City Council has 30 days from the swearing in of the newly elected officers to either call a special election for June 2011 or make an appointment to fill the vacancy.

Lake Wohlford Offers Free Fishing Classes


Contact: Sue Evarts, Volunteer Coordinator, 760-839-4241/760-855-6316

Lake Wohlford has just started a new program to help children and adults become better at catching fish. Volunteers from the Escondido Senior Anglers will provide informational classes on the Basics of Fishing. Classes will be held on the third Saturday of each month at 9:00 a.m. and will include topics on casting, what is the right equipment to have and how to use it. This program will begin in the picnic area at Lake Wohlford and move to the water for practice. The classes are free of charge and you need not necessarily have your own fishing gear. If you have freshwater equipment, please bring it along so you can learn the specifics of each item (please, no salt water tackle). You will need to have a California State Fishing License to practice after class. Call 760-839-4241 and leave your name and phone number to register.


32nd Annual Dixon Lake Trout Derby


Contact: Dixon Lake Ranger Staff, 760-839-4680

From November 11 to the 14, the City of Escondido will be hosting the 32nd Annual Dixon Lake Trout Derby. To make this four-day event competitive for the novice, as well as the skilled angler, there are a variety of ways to win. Prizes will be awarded for the following five categories: the largest trout of the derby, the largest in each age category (senior, adult, and youth), the first and second largest trout of each day, the smallest trout of the derby, and for thefirst 15 trout brought in that have a plastic clip on their dorsal fin.

Large trout and great fishing has been the hallmark of the annual derby. The Grand Prize winner of last years' derby tipped the scales at 6 lbs. 9 oz. The Grand Prize winning Rainbow Trout at 18 of the past 25 derbies weighed in over 8 pounds.

To enter each fisherman must purchase a daily permit normally required to fish the lake ($7.00 adults, $5.00 for kids under 16 and seniors over 60). There is no additional charge to enter the derby, but the $5 vehicle entry fee into the park will be charged each day of the derby. Since Dixon Lake now has an Aquaculture permit, a California Fishing License is no longer required. Fish must be weighed in during derby hours, 6 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., on the day they are caught. Since contestants can win only one prize, chances of winning are good.
For further information, contact the Dixon Lake ranger staff at (760) 839-4680 or


Families on Foot First Annual 1M & 2M Run/Walk


Contact: Nicole White, 760-839-4382

Escondido Recreation invites runners and walkers to participate in the 1st Annual Families on Foot 1M/2M  Run/Walk on Saturday, October 23, 2010, in Kit Carson Park.  Proceeds will support health and safety programs for youth through Escondido Recreation and the Escondido Education Foundation.

Bring the whole family out to Kit Carson Park in Escondido and start your Saturday morning on the right foot.  Participants can choose to run/walk a 1 or 2 mile course, improving their health while having fun and supporting Escondido’s youth along the way. This family activity encourages participation of all ages with a FREE Health and Safety expo from 8:30–11:30 a.m.

Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m. with the first event starting at 8:30 a.m.  Participants may register the morning of the event, but if you register before 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 20, 2010, you will receive the discounted price:  $15 for Youth, ages 5-17; $20 for Adults, $60 for Family (4 people); and no fee for ages 4 and under. Register on-line at or call (760) 839-4691.