Get ready for the first flush as sewer system gets closer than ever

Surrounded by elected officials and water district staff, the Hi-Desert Water District directors cut the ceremonial ribbon and open the wastewater reclamation facility Thursday morning.

YUCCA VALLEY — The sewer project made a leap forward Thursday morning as officials from Yucca Valley and the state of California cut the ribbon and opened the wastewater reclamation facility, the first of its kind in the high desert.

Located on land south of Twentynine Palms Highway and west of La Contenta Road, the facility pumps in wastewater from pipes across town and treats it through ultraviolet light and membrane technology, which uses spaghetti-like filters to clean water. The treated water will be released into ponds, where it will filter through the ground and feed the aquifer.

While the facility is not operational yet, the district is will be running operational checks and the first flush is set for November.

On Thursday morning dozens of property owners, residents and environmentalists in the Morongo Basin gathered at the facility for guided tours and the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Hi-Desert Water District board President Dan Munsey welcomed the crowd and spoke about the history of the project, saying that it dates back decades.

“We kept pushing it down the road,” he said. “But in the end we were polluting our groundwater.”

State regulators had been saying Yucca Valley had to discontinue the use of septic tanks and build a wastewater treatment system for decades. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly 287 million gallons of untreated wastewater from septic tanks reaches Yucca Valley’s aquifer every year. 

In 2011, the state prohibited wastewater discharge from septic systems for parts of Yucca Valley. That ban goes into effect on June 30, 2021, for the downtown area, and on Dec. 30, 2025, for much of the rest of the town.

“It was a community problem,” Munsey said. “That problem is solved.”

Dawn Rowe, 3rd District Supervisor for the county of San Bernardino and a Yucca Valley resident, spoke at the ceremony and added that the septic system was unsustainable and stopped several businesses and developments from coming into Yucca Valley.

“It will bring businesses here,” she said. “It will give us a better quality of life, of course with the groundwater, but also in the bringing of jobs to the high desert.”

Yucca Valley Mayor Robert Lombardo echoed her thoughts and recognized the community for their understanding during the project, which has caused construction in nearly every neighborhood in Yucca Valley. 

He said he knows the construction has been difficult for many, but septic was unsustainable and he hopes everyone can recognize that.

“It is with great pleasure that with the cutting of the blue ribbon, (septic) will all be behind us soon,” he said.

With that, the Hi-Desert Water District Board of Directors cut the ribbon and opened the facility.

(6) comments


First of all , dont hold you breathe on it opening in November.

This is the biggest and most mis-managed project our corrupt town has taken on.God forbid the water district goons get their hands on the actual job. TOO LATE!😞

Am I the only person who is concerned about it being so close to our childrens school.

So we went from poisoning our ground water to poisoning the air the children breathe at the middle school.


I guess the only ones who should hold their breathe is the school teachers and the kids.


Air quality and its pollution (physical, chemical, and biological) significantly influences the health and good living of humans, animals, or plants inhabiting it [1, 2]. Despite the fact that the air is an unfavourable environment for microorganisms to grow, it is merely a place which temporarily occupy and move in. The air is very often called “transport environment” because microorganisms may be present and often can be transported over considerable distances [1]. Microorganisms move in the air as a consequence of wind movement, which “sweeps” them away from various habitats and surroundings (soil, water, waste, plant surfaces, animals, and other), or are introduced during the processes of sneezing, coughing, or sewage aeration [


A case control study, including 235 inhabitants living within a 500 yard radius by a municipal wastewater treatment plant (cases) and 97 inhabitants living in a different area (controls), was conducted. A standardized questionnaire was self-completed by the participants which examined the general health perception and the overall life satisfaction. Also, the concentration of airborne pathogenic microorganisms in aerosol samples collected around the wastewater treatment plant was investigated. Significant risk for symptoms such as headache, unusual tiredness, and concentration difficulties was recorded and an increased possibility for respiratory and skin diseases was reported. A high rate of the cases being irritable and moody was noticed. Significantly higher gastrointestinal symptoms were also reported among the cases in relation to the controls. The prevalence of pathogenic airborne microorganisms originating from the wastewater treatment plant was reported in high numbers in sampling points close to the wastewater treatment plant. More analytical epidemiological investigations are needed to determine the cause as well as the burden of the diseases to inhabitants living surrounding the wastewater treatment plant.

Mark Simmons

Good to know that the “Field of Dreams” or in this case, the “Field of Sewer Lines,” are alive and well in Yucky Valley! Our once little quaint, quiet little town will forever RIP thanks to the greed brought on be the developers and shady politicians. With growth, comes a whole slew of problems. Be careful what you wish for.


All this happen to quickly with throughly checking environmental reports. Sukit construction doesn't care about our delicate landscape. High Desert water mafia cracks me up charging 45 dollars for sewer a month. Last month I only used 25 dollars of water. How can you charge more for outtake vs intake lol


Of course, what is not mentioned is the absence of the disgraced General Manager.

Talk about mis management.

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