Miles of Aging Water Lines Remain Under San Diego

City and Caltrans crews remained at work in downtown Tuesday, cleaning up the mess after two water main breaks on Sunday closed freeway on-ramps and flooded businesses.

The first break came from a 76-year-old cast iron pipe near 11th and A street, which flooded local businesses and snarled traffic. Some time later, a 62-year-old concrete steel cylinder pipe failed near balboa park.

Opinion: Global Leaders Lag California, San Diego Officials on Climate Action

The city and county of San Diego are doing something the United States and most of the world’s most powerful nations have not: committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2035. That’s the same year Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ban on gas-powered automobiles sales in California fully kicks in. The governor also has taken action to prohibit new permits for fracking and greatly restricting where new oil and gas drilling can take place. Those are things the U.S. and many big countries have not done, either.

People Should Drink Way More Recycled Wastewater

ON A DUSTY hilltop in San Diego, the drinking water of the future courses through a wildly complicated and very loud jumble of tanks, pipes, and cylinders. Here at the North City Water Reclamation Plant, very not-drinkable wastewater is turned into a liquid so pure it would actually wreak havoc on your body if you imbibed it without further treatment.

First the system hits the wastewater with ozone, which destroys bacteria and viruses. Then it pumps the water through filters packed with coal granules that trap organic solids. Next, the water passes through fine membranes that snag any remaining solids and microbes. “The pores are so small, you can’t see them except with a really powerful microscope,” says Amy Dorman, deputy director of Pure Water San Diego, the city’s initiative to reduce its reliance on water imported from afar. “Basically, they only allow the water molecules to get through.”

San Diego’s Water Recyclers and High Bill Payers Draw Pool Noodles

The cost of getting water from the drought-stressed Colorado River is spiraling and parts of San Diego County with some of the highest bills and big water recycling projects on the horizon seem to be drawing pool noodles together.

That is, in any case, the rough sense that stuck out to me as I re-shuffled through my notes from last week’s story about huge, forecasted increases in the price of Colorado River water, which is controlled by San Diego County Water Authority.

San Diego Increases Sewer Rates 31 percent Over Four Years for Single-Family Customers

The San Diego City Council unanimously approved Tuesday a 17 percent sewer rate increase for single-family homes next year and a 31 percent increase for those customers over the next four years.

The new rate structure, which takes effect Jan. 1, reduces sewer rates for most businesses, condos and apartments based on two comprehensive studies showing those customers have been paying more than their fair share.

Higher Water Costs on the Horizon for San Diego Region

San Diego County residents should expect to pay a lot more for water in the near future.

The San Diego County Water Authority, which controls most of the region’s water resources from the drought-stressed Colorado River, is predicting anywhere from a 5.5 to 10 percent increase in the cost of water beginning in 2023, with hefty hikes continuing in the years thereafter.

The agency pointed to multiple drivers, chief among them an expected drop in demand as more cities build water recycling projects and the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water Authority, which controls San Diego’s access to the Colorado River, continues raising its rates.

Request for Proposals Issued to Develop San Vicente Energy Storage Facility

San Diego County Water Authority this week issued a formal Request for Proposals seeking a full-service private partner capable of developing a large-scale pumped energy storage project planned jointly by the Water Authority and the City of San Diego. Proposals are due by 2 p.m. Nov. 3. The partner agencies aim to maximize the value of the existing San Vicente Reservoir for on-demand energy generation to support the state’s clean energy goals.

Private Entity Sought to Develop San Diego Pumped-Storage Energy Facility

In 2018, the state of California updated its Renewables Portfolio Standard to call for obtaining 60% of its power from renewable energy sources by 2030. At the same time, the state also mandated that its electricity system be powered solely by carbon-free, renewable energy sources by 2045. Meeting these ambitious targets will require no shortage of technological developments, particularly batteries or other means of storing electricity generated by intermittent, renewable energy sources, especially solar and wind power.

As part of its recently enacted budget for 2021-22, California included funding to help foster the development of one such storage method, known as pumped-storage hydropower. In particular, the budget provided $18 million to the city of San Diego and the San Diego County Water Authority for use in advancing their planned joint project known as the San Vicente Energy Storage Facility.

National Awards for Pure Water San Diego’s John Carroll

John Carroll, the City of San Diego’s Pure Water Treatment Plant superintendent, received the 2021 Robert O. Vernon Membrane Plant Operator of the Year Award from the American Membrane Technology Association and the American Water Works Association.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to water supply improvement by an individual working at a membrane filtration, desalination, and/or water reuse facility. Carroll was selected in recognition of his service and dedication to membrane operations and for his leadership within the industry.

“My selection would not have been possible without the support of many dedicated and talented individuals, the fellow coworkers, consultants, and volunteers to whom I owe all my success,” said Carroll.

Ratepayers Could Block San Diego Water, Wastewater Rate Changes

If you live in San Diego and pay your own water and sewer bills, you should have gotten a mailer recently from the city government. It was easy to miss, but it has important details on how much the city wants to raise its rates, and included a way residents and businesses could potentially block the proposal.

Under the proposal, San Diego businesses and residents of apartment buildings would initially pay cheaper wastewater rates, while residents of single-family homes would see their rates go up. The changes are part of an overhaul to city fees used to maintain the sewage system.