California's most technologically advanced wastewater treatment plant is about to undergo a $1.2 million expansion where the tribal casino, outlet shopping center and private residences will be linked. Tribal officials said it sets a statewide example for protecting water supplies and promoting water recycling. The Viejas Water Reclamation Plant recently became the first and only facility in the state to use state-of-the-art immersed ultrafiltration membranes which trap solids and allow only clear water to pass through. "The Viejas tribe has a proud tradition of protecting the environment, and this wastewater facility expansion is a strong example of our commitment," Chairman Steven F. TeSam said. "This new upgrade will eliminate our reliance on septic tanks for homes and will provide for unrestricted irrigation throughout the reservation." The expansion will increase capacity to accommodate new residential hookups and casino and outlet expansions. Completion is scheduled for early 2002. "This plant serves as a model for other municipalities across the country," Guillermo Garcia of CGvL Engineers said, adding the process would be ideal for communities with limited space or those retrofitting existing plants for higher capacity and effluent quality. New equipment will be contained in the plant's current 48,000 square feet so the facility footprint will not increase.