Federal Funds Will Be Used to Strengthen Critical Infrastructure in South OC

Moulton Niguel Water District has been awarded $10.3 million in federal grants to strengthen and improve its wastewater infrastructure in South Orange County.

The $10.3 million grant administered by the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program will fund Moulton Niguel’s replacement of nearly two miles of sewer force mains located in Laguna Niguel Regional Park.

The pipelines, which were originally installed in 1980, are critical wastewater infrastructure in South Orange County, moving more than half of all District wastewater from its collection system to the local treatment plant.

“Moulton Niguel is investing in our local infrastructure to ensure ongoing safe and reliable water and wastewater services for our customers,” said Moulton Niguel President Duane D. Cave, who has more than four decades of experience in the utility industry.

Approximately 75 percent of the project’s expected construction costs will be covered by federal funds. The District began pursuing federal support for the project in 2019 as a way to mitigate the risk of infrastructure damage during seismic and severe storm events.

“We are grateful to our partners at FEMA Region 9 and the CalOES for their ongoing support as well as U.S. Senator Alex Padilla and our Orange County congressional delegation for their help in securing this federal grant,” said Vice President Brian S. Probolsky, who met with officials in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento about the federal grant. “We will continue to work with our federal and state representatives to pursue more grant opportunities.”

Moulton Niguel engineered the project to maintain uninterrupted service throughout construction. The project will also use a state-of-the-art trenchless construction technique, called microtunneling, at five creek crossings to minimize the impact on the natural environment.

“Moulton Niguel is well-known for its innovation in the water industry and for implementing capital and water efficiency projects that save significant amounts of water, money, and future maintenance costs that then deliver savings to consumers,” said Rep. Mike Levin, who represents Laguna Niguel and portions of South Orange County. “We were proud to support the District’s grant application and help secure the $10 million grant that will expand Moulton Niguel’s efforts and capacities.”

In addition to ensuring reliable infrastructure, this project will benefit the District’s OASIS Water Resources Center concept to develop a local water supply. Moulton Niguel is evaluating the opportunity to line and repurpose one of the existing pipelines to convey urban runoff from Aliso Creek as part of the OASIS project. Ultimately, this will reduce urban runoff discharges to improve the local creeks and beaches.

“Congratulations to Moulton Niguel on this very significant $10 million FEMA grant,” stated U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. “I look forward to assisting them on future grant requests to support their OASIS direct potable reuse project and other projects that incentivize residents to use water more efficiently.”

Moulton Niguel Water District delivers high-quality drinking water, recycled water, and wastewater services to customers in Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Dana Point, and San Juan Capistrano. A leader in water conservation and environmental protection, Moulton Niguel maintains the lowest average water bill in South Orange County.