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Twentynine Palms, California
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center
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U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Thomas B. Savage, a Chico, California native, commanding general of Marine Air-Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center, center left, and U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Stitt, a Chandler, Arizona native, left, and contractors with A&R Pacific-Garney Federal Joint Venture, are the first to “break ground” in a groundbreaking ceremony for the new wastewater treatment plant at MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms, California, March 6, 2024. The new WWTP project will decommission the current plant, construction of the new plant is expected to be completed in 2027. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Makayla Elizalde)

Photo by Sgt. Makayla Elizalde

Its official; New Wastewater Treatment Plant groundbreaking ceremony

6 Mar 2024 | Sgt. Makayla Elizalde Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms

Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for a new tertiary filtration system project on March 6, 2024. This project will be replacing the current wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), known as “Lake Bandini”, with an underground reservoir that will increase the efficiency of the plant as well as the quality of life for those living or stationed at The Combat Center.

“This effective use of the water is huge, and when it is will make us better stewards of our environment and will make us better partners with the community. It will enhance the quality of life for Marines, Sailors and most importantly their families for years to come,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas B. Savage, commanding general of MCAGCC, Marine Air-Ground Task Force Training Command.

The Combat Center’s WWTP secondary sewage treatment process will be replaced with a tertiary filtration system that reduces the facility’s footprint. This upgrade will also include a storage system made up of two 1.5 MGD tanks, a wastewater disinfection system, and a WWTP operations building.

During the groundbreaking ceremony Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Stitt, director of Facilities Engineering and Acquisition Division, Public Works Division, MCAGCC, mentioned “The primary goal of this project is to build new facilities that produce title 22 disinfected tertiary recycled water, and to demolish the previously used 1.75 MGD wastewater treatment plant process as it is outdated. The project completion date is March 23, 2027.”

Residents and permanent personnel should not expect changes to services throughout the duration of the project.

“This project is designed and will be constructed to allow the existing WWTP to remain in operation during construction. The base may see a fair number of materials and construction equipment coming in, but there should be minimal to no interruption to activity occurring on base,” mentioned Lt. Jg. Parker Bagshaw, assistant public works officer, PWD, MCAGCC.

The new facilities will be offset from the road and running trail, and very importantly, will have odor control and no ponds, which will eliminate the “Lake Bandini” effect often smelled across main side and in physical fitness training areas.

The Combat Center’s WWTP was constructed in 1952 as a primary treatment plant consisting of a pond system. While the WWTP has received numerous modifications and expansions, as well as provided treated wastewater for irrigation at controlled facilities, the improvements are not sufficient to mitigate the pond system odors. The lack of tertiary treatment requires the use of potable groundwater to irrigate the open green belt areas.

The WWTP receives flow from both The Combat Center’s main side as well as Camp Wilson and has been designated a “critical facility”. The WWTP remains the only wastewater treatment plant for a population of approximately 21,000, which increases to approximately 28,000 during Service Level Training Exercises.

“We are providing base water security and resiliency, which will enable future generations of Marines to continue to do our vital missions here at Twentynine Palms for years to come,” said Savage.
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms