What a fantastic tour! Thanks for a great day and our clean water. What a wonderful group of people who work there!!

Helix Customer

Over 50 customers participated in Helix Water Talks on Saturday for a behind the scenes tour of Helix’s R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant.

After coffee and bagels, and a welcome from Helix’s general manager, Carlos Lugo, customers saw our water treatment process first hand and learned how we assure the safety and quality of the drinking water we provide. They also learned that:

  • We operate the plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet customer demand.
  • Our plant treats water for Otay, Padre Dam and Lakeside water districts in addition to Helix customers, and can treat up to 106 million gallons per day to meet future demand as East County’s population grows.
  • The plant includes two mixing basins, two sedimentation basins and two filter basins so that we can continue treating water while taking facilities offline for maintenance or repair.
  • We disinfect our water with ozone (ozone is comprised of three oxygen molecules) to produce high quality drinking water.
  • We have a chemist and biologist onsite at the plant and conduct 200 water quality tests per day.

Larry Lyford, Helix’s plant manager, explains to his tour group how plant operators monitor and manage the treatment process from the control room.

Michelle Berens, Helix’s system manager, and Cindy Ziernicki, our chemist, discuss how we identify the constituents in source water and manage treatment accordingly.

Francine Thompson, who coordinates tours of the treatment plant for about 2,000 local fifth grade students annually, walks customers through a short history of East County’s water supply and water quality.