Completion of Lessalt water treatment plant marks milestone

Plant marks the first major step in bringing improved water quality to the Hollister Urban Area

Upgrades to the Lessalt Water Treatment Plant on Fairview Road near Sunnyslope Road are complete, marking the first major step in bringing improved water quality to the Hollister Urban Area.

The Hollister Urban Area Water Project (HUAWP) is a collaborative effort approved in 2013 between the City of Hollister, Sunnyslope County Water District and the San Benito County Water District to improve drinking water quality, protect the groundwater basin and help meet wastewater discharge requirements.

“Completion of the Lessalt upgrades is a milestone in a long-term effort to improve water quality for our drinking water customers, and to help protect our local groundwater basin,” said Harry Blohm, the HUAWP project manager. “Upgrading the Lessalt Treatment Plant allows us to reliably treat 2 million gallons of water per day (mgd). This the first step in a long-range plan that has been in the works for many years.”

The $6.8 million project was completed on schedule and within the original budget, officials say. Surface water imported from the Central Valley Project (CVP) is treated to drinking water standards at the Lessalt plant and distributed to Ridgemark, Sunnyslope and the City of Hollister customers.

The next phase of the area water project is the construction of the West Hills Treatment Plant, which will treat up to 4.5 mgd of imported CVP water. Taken together, the Lessalt and West Hills plants will increase the quality of drinking water throughout the Hollister area. It will allow the City of Hollister and Sunnyslope to decrease pumping of lower-quality groundwater, allow water recycling for local crops and assists the City of Hollister and the Sunnyslope County Water District in meeting State Water Quality Board wastewater discharge requirements.

Improved water treatment will also reduce the mineral content in local drinking water, reducing the need for water softeners in most areas and contributing to longer life for many household appliances.

“This is a multiple-benefit project,” said Jeff Cattaneo, district manager for the San Benito County Water District. “It improves the quality of the water delivered to our local domestic water customers, it benefits agriculture by protecting groundwater and providing recycled water for irrigation, and it helps our region meet new water quality standards.”

A public open house event will be scheduled in March. A specific date will be announced later. Tours of the new facility will be available and officials from the Hollister Urban Area Water Project will be on hand to answer questions and discuss the project.

For more information about the Hollister Urban Area Water Project, visit the website at; all Shawn Novack or Harry Blohm at 831-637-8218; or email them at



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Shawn Novack

Shawn Novack is the Director of the Water Resources Association of San Benito County. The Association represents the City of Hollister, the City of San Juan Bautista, the Sunnyslope County Water District and the San Benito County Water District for all their water conservation and water resource protection programs. Shawn has been in the field of water conservation for 18 years. He has a certification as a Water Conservation Practioner from the American Water Works Association California/Nevada Chapter. He also is a Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor through the Irrigation Association in Virginia. Before getting into the water industry, Shawn worked as a technical writer for the Naval Research Center in Monterey.