Oceanside Mayor Peter Weiss is among mayors across the country who are urging their communities to use water wisely and join Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.
The City of Oceanside received an Award of Excellence during the WateReuse Association virtual conference in June 2020. Oceanside received the Recycled Water Agency of the Year for small systems, which recognizes an agency that has developed recycled water, on a significant level, as an alternative water source within their service area, regionally, or statewide.
The development of water reuse programs addresses a variety of challenges currently faced by the City. Today, Oceanside imports most of its water from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River, both of which are hundreds of miles away. In order to gain greater water-independence, the Oceanside City Council set a goal of a 50% local water supply by 2030. After almost a decade of regional and local planning efforts, the City of Oceanside has developed a comprehensive water reuse program including expanding water recycling and advanced water purification. The planning efforts have taken place since 2010 and have laid the groundwork for the City’s recycled water and potable reuse programs.
“The City of Oceanside is proud to receive the Recycled Water Agency of the Year Award,” said Cari Dale, City of Oceanside water utilities director. “Our staff works hard to ensure the City continues to increase our local water supply reliability and provide multiple benefits to our residents and businesses by reusing our water resources to their fullest potential.”
70 million gallons of recycled water distributed yearly
The City of Oceanside has 1.2 miles of recycled pipeline that distributed nearly 70 million gallons (236-acre feet) per year. The distribution system currently supplies recycled water to the Oceanside Municipal Golf Course, Goat Hills Golf Course, and El Corazon Sport Complex.
Oceanside is currently expanding its recycled water system in two phases. Phase 1 will add approximately seven miles of distribution pipelines and approximately 10 miles of additional distribution pipelines will be added for Phase 2. Recycled water customers will include commercial users with significant irrigation demands for landscaping such as golf courses, HOAs, City parks, as well as industrial and agricultural customers.
Pure Water Oceanside
The City is also pursuing an advanced water purification project called Pure Water Oceanside. The project will create between 3 to 5 million gallons a day of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof, and exceptionally pure.
Purified water, like the water created through Pure Water Oceanside, starts with recycled water that is further treated through proven advanced water purification processes to create clean and safe drinking water. The water purification process uses state-of-the-art purification steps that replicates and accelerates nature’s natural recycling process. Scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021, Pure Water Oceanside will be the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County.
Through the expansion of recycled water and the development of Pure Water Oceanside, Oceanside has demonstrated leadership, creativity, and persistence in the development of a comprehensive water reuse program. Oceanside is well on its way to meet the City Council’s goal of 50% local water supply by 2030. By 2023 33% of Oceanside’s water supply will be local, which will increase to 56% by 2030.
This feature highlights water utility employees in the San Diego region working during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure a safe, reliable and plentiful water supply. The water industry is among the sectors that are classified as essential. Ron Lutge, City of Oceanside Chief Plant Operator, is the Water Utility Hero of the Week.
The California Department of Water Resources has awarded a $275,800 grant to the City of Oceanside to design a comprehensive riparian habitat and streambank restoration project for a segment of Buena Vista Creek in southeast Oceanside. The planning work will identify a feasible restoration design, conduct community outreach and complete preliminary environmental documentation for future restoration work.
With farmers markets closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a family who has been farming in Southern California for more than a century is taking its produce directly to homes throughout North County and beyond.
For the last three years, Yasukochi Family Farm has been putting together and delivering CSA (community supported agriculture) boxes full of fresh produce.
“They’re buying local vegetables,” said Donal Yasukochi explaining how the community is supporting the operation. “It helps us stay in business.”
The City of Oceanside has created a utility service relief program for businesses that must remain closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the program is to support Oceanside’s local business community and provide relief for water, sewer and solid waste utility services by temporarily stopping all utility services and charges.
In the wake of a storm that brought the first measurable rainfall to parts California in over a month, a second storm and much more efficient rain-producer will affect Southern California, southern Nevada and Arizona into Thursday.
“While the new storm will cause some trouble in in terms of isolated flash flooding, mudslides, severe thunderstorms and a major hassle for motorists, the storm will be very beneficial for drought and wildfire concerns,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Oceanside officially broke ground Wednesday on an innovative water recycling plant that will provide 32% of the city’s water supply in future years.
Although San Diego is working on a similar and larger project, Pure Water Oceanside will be the first operating advanced purification facility in the county.
The plan will use microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light to purify wastewater from the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility, reducing the city’s reliance on water imported from the Colorado River and Sacramento Bay Delta.
North San Diego County fire agencies teamed up in November with the Vallecitos Water District for confined space training drills. The drills, held over a two-week period, prepare firefighting professionals to respond to emergencies in facilities such as wastewater treatment plants and maintain their confined space certification.
The recent training took place at the Vallecitos Water District’s Meadowlark Reclamation Facility. Firefighters saw how the wastewater plant operates while getting a walk through of the facility. Fire personnel worked with Vallecitos staff and both groups benefited from the opportunity to understand each other’s equipment and protocols.
“The confined space training with the fire agencies has helped prepare us for future scenarios that could happen at the plant,” said Dawn McDougle, wastewater plant supervisor.
Video of the training drills conducted by the fire agencies and Vallecitos Water District.
The Meadowlark facility was chosen because it provided both vertical and horizontal confined spaces for training drills. McDougle suggested the facility storm wet well be used for the confined space exercise since it is relatively environmentally clean.
Collaboration results in more efficient response to emergencies
Eight different fire agencies trained during morning or afternoon sessions, breaking up groups for various skill set station drills. Stations included an “Arizona vortex,” a new piece of equipment fire agencies use for rescues; a review of confined space rescue equipment; and training in confined space permit requirements. Confined space permits are required by OSHA before making any kind of confined space entry or rescue.
Meadowlark staff reviewed the conditions and possible actions within filter station space with fire crews. Staff also explained decision-making for confined space entry, and conditions they might encounter, such as chemical exposure, and lock-out/tag-out requirements.
The training wrapped up with an all-hands mock confined space drill scenario at the Meadowlark storm wet well. Participants were required to respond to a simulated mechanical failure with a station pump, leaving Vallecitos staff “trapped” in a hole. First responders needed to “rescue” Vallecitos staff. Fire department personnel used the vortex system to rescue personnel trapped in the stormwater wet well. As part of the rescue scenario, fire teams incorporated Vallecitos staff involvement in the rescue mission.
Vallecitos wastewater collection crews also completed the confined space training with the firefighters.
Fire agencies were impressed with the staff and their operation of the Meadowlark Reclamation Facility. As a result of training, fire agencies can now respond more efficiently and with confidence.
“We appreciate the collaboration with fire agencies and the time they took to explain their procedures to Vallecitos District staff,” said McDougle. “We look forward to future training with the fire agencies.”
Firefighting agencies participating in the training included crews from the cities of Carlsbad, San Marcos, Del Mar, Vista, Escondido, Oceanside, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Valley Center, and crews from North County Fire (Fallbrook), San Pasqual and Rincon.
The City of Oceanside is joining the City of San Diego and East San Diego County in adding advanced purified water to its drinking water supply. The Pure Water Oceanside project is expected to break ground next spring and begin producing advanced purified water in 2022.
The Padre Dam Municipal Water District, Helix Water District and the City of San Diego, are among the water agencies in San Diego County that are developing or expanding water recycling to increase the local water supply.