The Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority is planning on building a plant that would clean wastewater for irrigation purposes more cheaply than piping it down and back up the Cajon Pass.


The agency has been reaching out to nearby residents about the project since early 2010. But not everyone is convinced that the plant will hide in plain sight in the housing tracts on the west side of town.


"I don't want to be known for living in a smelly area like when you are entering or leaving Barstow," resident Jose Doran wrote in a letter to city officials. "Please put this plant in an outlying area."


"The present economy has caused my home's value to decrease and now a waste plant nearby would totally destroy it," wrote Nancy Walczyk.


"We are sure you wouldn't build this in your backyard, so please don't build it in ours," wrote Stephen and Linda Tomczak in an email sent to the city.


Solid waste will not be treated at the plant, say officials; only liquid waste, and the actual work would be done in a sealed facility below-ground.


"It's a fully enclosed facility that will be able to recycle water for irrigation purposes," said Ryan Orr, public information officer for VVWRA. "There's no open air anything. It's all below ground. ... It's meant to blend in with the community. It looks just like a brand-new house."


The plant is slated for 10.9 acres on the northwest corner of Mojave Street and Tamarisk Avenue, with a lift station on 0.3 acres on the northwest corner of Fresno Street and Primrose Avenue.


The project is currently working its way through the approvals process in Hesperia and is identical to one recently approved in Apple Valley.


"Basically it just provides Hesperia with a drought-proof water supply, which is sorely needed up here," Orr said.


The agency is working to line up funding for the $25 million project and thus, has no estimated time of completion for the facility.


"It'll only take two years to build, once we get started," Orr said.


Once built, the facility will treat 1 million gallons of water at first, and eventually ramp up to 4 million gallons a day.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.