Traffic operations returned to normal Monday, June 12 at the intersection of Portola Avenue and Hovley Lane East in Palm Desert, where Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) crews completed repair work ahead of schedule.
Lane closures went into effect on Saturday, June 3 in connection with a wastewater spill at the Whitewater River Stormwater Channel near Cook Street and had been expected to continue for two weeks.
The estimated 2.4 million-gallon spill on Saturday, June 3 was caused when two sewer pipes broke after a pond overflowed and created a gash approximately 25 feet deep and 50 feet wide in the channel bank. The lanes were closed when wastewater flows were diverted through pipes near Portola Avenue and Hovley Lane East so that service to homes and businesses would not be affected during repairs.
Crews continue work to replace the pipes and repair the bank.
CVWD wants to assure customers that the wastewater spill did not damage the district’s drinking water, said CVWD Director of Environmental Services Steve Bigley.
The desert’s thick layers of sand provide a purifying process.
“Sand is a natural filter that removes particles and micro-organisms,” Bigley said. “In the Coachella Valley, water drains through hundreds of feet of sand for many decades until it reaches the water table.”
Drinking water is pumped from wells that are often more than 1,000 feet deep in the aquifer.
The Coachella Valley Water District is a public agency governed by a five-member board of directors. The district provides domestic and irrigation water, agricultural drainage, wastewater treatment and reclamation services, regional storm water protection, groundwater management and water conservation. It serves approximately 109,000 residential and business customers across 1,000 square miles, located primarily in Riverside County, but also in portions of Imperial and San Diego counties.