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Pure Water Oceanside-US EPA loan-Water Recycling

Pure Water Oceanside Recycling Project Gets $69 Million EPA Loan

The Pure Water Oceanside project is getting a $69 million loan from the U.S. EPA that will finance nearly half of the project’s construction cost.

EPA officials announced the loan at an event today in Oceanside attended by federal, regional and local officials.

The innovative water reuse project will purify recycled water to create a new source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and sustainable. It also will benefit the environment by reducing discharges into the Pacific Ocean. Construction and operation of the plant is expected to create 622 jobs.

Scheduled to be completed in 2022, Pure Water Oceanside will be the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County. The project will provide more than 32% of the City of Oceanside’s water supply, or 3 to 5 million gallons per day.

Sustainability, drought-proof water supply

“The City of Oceanside is proud to be a leader in sustainability and water reliability,” said Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss. “Pure Water Oceanside marks the next big step for our City as the project will safeguard against drought, reduce our dependence on imported water, and create an exceptionally pure drinking water supply.”

“I appreciate the U.S. EPA in their funding support as it is a critical aspect for Oceanside’s ability to continue to improve our local water supplies while minimizing our impact to our ratepayers,” said Weiss.

Loan supports infrastructure investments

“At the City of Oceanside, we are focused not only on today, but also are committed to planning for tomorrow to ensure future generations will have access to high-quality drinking water,” said Oceanside Water Utilities Director Cari Dale. “This loan will be instrumental in moving our Pure Water Oceanside project forward to completion and aligns with our long-term goal to have 50% of our city’s water supply be locally sourced by 2030.”

The Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to help finance the Pure Water Oceanside Project comes at a critical time, as the federal government, EPA, and water industry work to offset the public health and financial impacts of COVID-19.

The Pure Water Oceanside project is estimated to cost $158 million, and the WIFIA loan will finance nearly half of that cost, according to the EPA. The remaining project funds will come from a combination of grants, water system revenue backed obligations, and system funds.

“EPA’s support for this project illustrates two agency priorities as we work to meet 21st century water demands — reusing the water that we have and revamping our nation’s water infrastructure,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water David Ross. “With WIFIA’s support, Pure Water Oceanside will be a landmark project as EPA looks to foster additional innovative water reuse strategies and infrastructure investments across the country.”

Pure Water Oceanside-EPA Loan-Water Recycling

“I am proud and excited for the City of Oceanside and everyone who has worked so hard on the Pure Water Oceanside project,” said Congressman Mike Levin, who represents north San Diego County. “Now more than ever, it’s critically important that we diversify our water supply. Thanks to Pure Water Oceanside, the City of Oceanside, and this EPA loan, we are one step closer to achieving that independence. This is an extraordinary milestone and will make a huge difference for countless families in North County.”

National Water Reuse Action Plan

The water reuse benefits of the project highlight commitments made under the National Water Reuse Action Plan—a collaborative effort and the first initiative of its magnitude aimed at strengthening the sustainability, security and resilience of our nation’s water resources. The Action Plan frames the business case that water reuse is a viable and growing means of supporting our economy and improving the availability of freshwater for farmers, industry, communities, and ecosystems.

“By improving water infrastructure, we are improving the quality of life and public health in our communities,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “Through the WIFIA loan program, EPA is happy to support the Pure Water Oceanside Project in ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water for decades to come.”

Turning Air Into Water: How Native Americans are Coping With Water Shortage Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Washing your hands is one of the simplest preventative measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in fighting the spread of the coronavirus. But for thousands of Navajo and Hopi people, a preexisting water shortage now puts them at serious risk during the pandemic.

The Sweetwater Authority received CAPIO's EPIC Award earlier this month for its innovative communication for the Hydro Station Education Experience. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District Win Statewide Award for Hydro Station Education Experience

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board on July 22 was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. As a collaborative project with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Sweetwater Authority and the Otay Water District received the award from CAPIO earlier this month for innovative communications for the Hydro Station Education Experience.

The Hydro Station at Sweetwater’s Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility,  hosts learning exhibits and hands-on activities to introduce 4,000 local students annually to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. The Hydro Station is made possible through a partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, Chula Vista Elementary School District, and the Otay Water District.

Hydro Station Education Experience opened in August 2019

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their first visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

“It is exciting to be on a Board that values the importance of strategic partnerships,” said Governing Board Chair Steve Castaneda. “We are working with the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the Otay Water District to provide educational opportunities for students in our service area and to expose local children to a career path that could position them as tomorrow’s water leaders.”

The program opened in August 2019 after months of planning and collaboration with its partners.

The Authority’s Communications Committee Chair, José F. Cerda, is a long-time advocate of the partnership.

“As a former Chula Vista Elementary School District educator, I have seen the impacts that these sort of innovative classroom experiences can have on students and their families,” said Cerda. “I am so proud of the work that we are doing at the Authority and being an industry leader in creating and developing experiences for the children in our community.”

The Hydro Station will resume in a virtual format for students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District next month.

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Technology-Asset Management-Pipelines

Pipelines Assessed in Record Time with Latest Technology

The San Diego County Water Authority’s asset management team recently celebrated the completion of a comprehensive condition assessment of more than 27 miles of the agency’s oldest pipelines. The assessment was performed in record time over just 16 months.

The work was part of a package of rehabilitative efforts on a portion of the First Aqueduct, which includes Pipelines 1 and 2 in North San Diego County. Built in 1947 and 1952, the two pipelines deliver treated water to the region and were constructed using various materials, including reinforced concrete and steel.

Proactive asset management team makes critical repairs

As the pipelines were inspected, areas that required immediate attention were identified and repaired, thereby minimizing future disruptions to water service and impacts to the surrounding environment. Sections of the pipelines requiring future repairs were added to a list of upcoming projects prioritized by the risks and associated costs.

“The asset management team took advantage of scheduled pipeline shutdowns, and with careful coordination, assessment work was performed concurrently with other major rehabilitation efforts in the region,” said Martin Coghill, operations and maintenance manager at the Water Authority. “This innovative approach saved time and avoided unnecessary disruptions in service to our member agencies.”

Throughout the condition assessment process, Water Authority staff worked closely with staff from member agencies to coordinate work being performed in their service areas and any potential impacts. Proactive repairs are crucial to ensuring the reliability of the regional water supply.

Collaboration with multiple contractors to perform complex work

In 2016, a search was conducted to find the best technologies to perform critical assessments to maintain the reliability of the pipelines. It resulted in a multi-technology, multi-contract approach.

The Water Authority partnered with multiple contractors to perform the complex work:

  • Diakont, based in Carlsbad, Calif., used its robotically-mounted technologies to inspect steel pipe sections. High-resolution LASER Profilometry and Electromagnetic Acoustic Transfer technology located internal and external corrosion defects that were then repaired by welding steel patches on the inside of the pipe. This method avoided costly excavations and environmental impacts.
  • Pipeline Inspection and Condition Analysis Corp., based in Edmonton, Alberta, brought its sophisticated Remote Field Technology to San Diego County to scan most of the reinforced concrete pipe using an innovative tool that moved through the pipe at a controlled speed. The technology had been previously used by the Water Authority and consistently demonstrated a high level of accuracy.
PICA, remote field technology, pipeline inspection

PICA uses cutting-edge Remote Field Technology to scan pipelines at a controlled speed with high accuracy. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

  • Pure Technologies, a Xylem company with an office in San Diego, deployed its Near Field and Remote Field electromagnetic inspection tools to assess portions of the reinforced concrete pipe. With a focus on lightweight components, both tools were successfully conveyed through the pipelines using personnel with rope and pulley support.
technology, pipeline inspection, Pure Technologies

Pure Technologies’ innovative tool uses electromagnetic technology to assess reinforced concrete pipelines using personnel with rope and pulley support. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

The focus on the Water Authority’s First Aqueduct is the latest chapter in the agency’s long-running strategy to assess critical pipelines and ensure the maximum lifespan is achieved with the most cost-effective methods. Proactive asset management efforts first began in the 1990s and were consolidated into the Asset Management Program in 2009. To date, more than 150 miles of the Water Authority’s total 310 miles of large-diameter pipelines have been assessed using cutting-edge technologies.

The asset management team collaborates with local, national and international organizations in the asset management and water infrastructure fields, focusing on knowledge sharing and asset life optimization.

Local Teen Creates Torrey Pine Prototype to Help Fight Water Crisis

Among being big, bold and beautiful, the Torrey Pine tree could also be the solution when it comes to helping with the world’s water crisis.

“As a child we would go hiking there [Torrey Pines] every single weekend and see how there were giant puddles under the tree.”

Sweetwater Authority Taps Innovative Technology to Ensure Water Quality

The Sweetwater Authority recently began a multiyear water main flushing program using innovative technology to clean all 400 miles of pipeline in its system. It’s part of Sweetwater Authority’s use of the latest technology to deliver a safe, reliable water supply to its South San Diego County customers.

The Sweetwater Authority will use innovative technology to flush all 400 miles of its system pipelines. Pnoto: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority Taps Innovative Technology to Ensure Water Quality

The Sweetwater Authority recently began a multiyear water main flushing program using innovative technology to clean all 400 miles of pipeline in its system. It’s part of Sweetwater Authority’s use of the latest technology to deliver a safe, reliable water supply to its South San Diego County customers.

Water main flushing cleans pipeline interiors by sending a rapid flow of water through them. Sweetwater’s program is the first in the region to use a new, innovative technology resulting in less environmental impact.

“We’re committed to providing our customers with high-quality water, ensuring that every drop meets safety standards and protects public health,” said Tish Berge, Sweetwater Authority general manager. “We’re also dedicated to providing the safe, reliable water through the use of best available technology and sustainable practices.”

See the system in action in the following video. A Spanish language version is also available.

New method avoids storm drain discharge

Traditional flushing methods release water from fire hydrants at a high speed in order to flush out naturally occurring sediments accumulating in water pipes over time. Although the sediment itself is harmless, it can eventually affect water color and taste. The water used to clean the pipes often cannot be captured and ends up in the storm drain system.

The bulk of Sweetwater Authority‘s flushing program now eliminates the need to discharge water from fire hydrants during the cleaning process while delivering the same results.

With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Crews identify all pipes, valves, and fire hydrants located in the area to be flushed. Next, crews connect one end of a hose to a hydrant and the other end of the hose to the no discharge, or NO-DES flushing unit. The process repeats, connecting a second hose to another hydrant and the other end back into the flushing unit, creating a temporary closed loop.

Once the NO-DES flushing unit is turned on and the hydrants are open, water will push through the loop at high pressure, disrupting any accumulated sediment on the inside of the pipes. The water is pushed through a series of sock-like filters, which remove those sediments and return clean, high-quality water back into the system.

Crews closely monitor the filtration system and water quality to determine when flushing of each pipeline segment is complete.

Innovative technology, efficient and environmentally responsible

Additional member water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the technology. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Additional member water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the technology. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

With the closed-loop system and increased controls, crews are able to effectively and thoroughly flush large sections of pipeline with a single setup and staging area. This more efficient setup is less labor-intensive and allows the crew to maintain a safe hub for operations.

In the National City area 75.8 miles of pipeline was recently flushed. Crews are now completing work in the Bonita area, and then will start work in Chula Vista.

Additional water agencies have indicated an interest in the cost-effectiveness of purchasing the NO-DES flushing units for the region and collaborating to create a shared-use program with the innovative technology.

“Securing a local water supply to ensure the water delivered is of the highest quality through the best technology in our projects and programs helps to maximize value for our customers while also being sustainable,” said Berge.

For more information on the program, go to www.sweetwater.org/flushing.

Vallecitos Water District Employs Technology to Decrease TSS, pH and Algal Blooms

Vallecitos Water District provides 5.25 million gallons of recycled water for irrigation every day. To fulfill the demands of modern irrigation systems, it is important to maintain low TSS levels. This is a challenge during the warm months in California, as algae that occur with raising temperatures, increase the level of TSS and clog the filters that are meant to remove TSS before the distribution of water to the irrigation systems.

Vallecitos Water District is known for its’ sustainable and innovative focus when it comes to water and wastewater treatment.

Opinion: County Farm Bureaus Innovate During Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shelter-in-place protocols and safety concerns disrupted rural communities and markets for agricultural products. Around California, county Farm Bureaus responded with innovative solutions intended to help their members ensure safety of themselves, their families and their employees, and to promote and sell crops and commodities in new and rapidly changing conditions.

Here are three examples among many, showing how county Farm Bureaus in California have supported their members and their communities.

Opinion: As Recycling Rate Drops, California Should Embrace Innovative Recycling Technologies

California’s recycling rate has fallen from a peak of 50% to 40%, well short of the 75%-by-2020 goal established by the Legislature, according to a recent report by CalRecycle, the state agency that manages recycling programs.