Could wastewater be the solution to our drought problems? Valley Water thinks so and they are doubling down on it by expanding their North San Jose advanced water purification center and planning on building a new plant in Los Atos to produce millions of gallons of purified drinking water. In the heart of Silicon Valley, Valley Water is technology to lead the county out of the drought.
Key staff from three water organizations along the Monterey Peninsula have apparently reached an agreement on a deal that will send hundreds of acre-feet of new water to California American Water Co. for distribution up and down the Peninsula.
Monterey One Water, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and Cal Am reached an agreement at a joint meeting Wednesday whereby Cal Am agreed to purchase water from Monterey One’s Pure Water Monterey expansion project.
San Diego formally launched Friday the largest infrastructure project in city history, a sewage recycling system that will boost local water independence in the face of more severe droughts caused by climate change.
Dubbed “Pure Water,” the multibillion-dollar project is the culmination of a lengthy process featuring thorny lawsuits, complex labor deals and an aggressive public education campaign to fight the derogatory early nickname “toilet to tap.”
Construction on 8 miles of water pipeline that will be serve as life-blood for the Pure Water Soquel Project, is set to begin on May 24 in Santa Cruz. Three distinct components of building are set to take place during the next several months. From late May until June 15 crews will work around California Street, from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility to Laurel Street. After that, and until around July 6, construction will take place on Laurel Street to Chestnut Street. The third scheduled construction phase will run from July 6 through Aug. 12 on Chestnut to the west end of the Laurel Street Bridge.
I’ve been writing a lot about the broken sewage system in Tijuana causing spills into San Diego. Part of the concern, San Diego officials told me, is that Mexico lacks a system to monitor whether businesses are dumping toxic waste into the sewer system.
That’s part of the reason why it’s risky to reuse any of that river water because, if we don’t know what’s in the water, we can’t be sure how to best treat it.
In its 25-year plan ensuring the San Diego region has enough water to go around, the county’s largest water provider didn’t appear to take the region’s biggest water recycling project to date very seriously, at least at first.
Emails between the San Diego County Water Authority staff and city of San Diego officials show the city had to argue for the second and biggest phase of its Pure Water program to be considered a realistic future source of drinking water. That surprised San Diego, which is the Water Authority’s biggest customer and is legally required to construct its wastewater recycling project.
Pure Water Oceanside is installing new pipelines and drilling wells as the recycled water project continues on track for completion in 2022. The advanced water purification project, and expansion of the City of Oceanside’s existing recycled water system, will deliver a new, local source of high-quality drinking water supplying more than 30% of the city’s water supply when completed.
Residents are kept up to date on construction impacts to streets and other infrastructure through several outreach efforts including an interactive construction map, detailed online schedule, regular newsletters, and virtual open house presentations live on the City of Oceanside’s YouTube channel, offering residents the opportunity to ask questions.
“We understand living and commuting near a construction site is not easy,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside. “Everyone involved with the project is thankful to those residents and business owners who live and work in the construction zone for their patience and cooperation. It is crucial to the successful on-time completion of this vital infrastructure project.”
Pipeline installation is now taking place at North River Road and the Douglas Drive intersection, and moving towards Pala. Lane closures on Douglas Drive allow access to the businesses through the entrance on North River Road.
In addition, pipeline installation on Pala Road is now underway. The road will remain open both ways but will require lane closures.
Well construction, which includes injection and monitoring wells, requires closing a section of Coco Palms Drive (south of Cherrystone Street), which will reduce construction time and impacts to nearby residents. Well drilling will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week for approximately three weeks until early 2021. During this time, 16-foot sound walls have been installed around the drilling site to direct sound waves up into the atmosphere and away from residents. Night construction lighting will also be mitigated by the sound walls.
After drilling is complete, additional work will be conducted for testing and to install well infrastructure. The post-drilling work will take place weekdays during business hours and occasional Saturdays.
River Bike Trail remains open
Access to the popular River Bike Trail path is still accessible on the west side of Douglas Drive. Riders are asked to cross safely at the marked crosswalk at Pala Road and Douglas Drive to access the trail and avoid construction equipment.
Construction on schedule
Construction for the entire project is expected to be complete in 2022. While most construction will take place during regular weekday business hours, some critical pipeline construction elements will require temporary extended work hours and occasional Saturdays to complete the project on time.
Residents can sign up for email updates about the project. In the event of any immediate concerns, residents can call 760-435-4570 and representatives will troubleshoot issues.
The U.S. Secretary of the Interior is planning to recommend a $6 million grant award for the construction of the Pure Water Oceanside project. Interior Secretary David. L. Bernhardt is planning to recommend the project for the grant award, which will come from the Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART: Title XVI WIIN Water Reclamation and Reuse Projects funding opportunity.
The Bureau of Reclamation provides grants to water districts and communities like Oceanside trying to reclaim and reuse wastewater and compromised ground and surface water in the West. Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water to create a local source of potable drinking water.
National Recycling Day on November 15 celebrates and promotes recycling practices to reduce waste and decrease energy demands, ultimately preventing pollution and fighting climate change. This year, the Water Authority partnered with the Southern California Water Coalition to promote water recycling.
National Recycling Day brings new video series
The Water Authority and other SCWC members, worked through the Coalition’s Recycled Water Task Force, along with other water districts and agencies in Southern California to create a new video series. The informative video series was created to educate the public on the use of recycled water in Southern California. The three-part video series shares a simple message – Water: Too Precious to Use Just Once.
The short videos explain the basics of water recycling and its importance as part of a diverse set of solutions employed by water agencies and local governments to stretch limited water resources. The series describes what water recycling is, how it is safe, and how it is used and will be used in the future.
“This new video series is the result of many water agencies and experts working in partnership to promote inclusive educational outreach about the safety and importance of water recycling in our communities,” said Lesley Dobalian, principal water resources specialist for the Water Authority and a member of the Recycled Water Task Force.
Water Too Precious to Use Just Once
Water recycling is the process of taking water that has already been used and treating it to levels safe for further beneficial use. Recycled water is highly regulated, and its use must comply with strict environmental and safety rules and requirements.
Thanks to advancements in water treatment technologies, reycled water is used to water landscapes, for commercial and industrial processes, and to recharge underground aquifers. Recycled water is also tapped for potable reuse through reservoir augmentation.
Water recycling is key to the region’s future
Recycled water is one more tool in the San Diego region’s water portfolio approach to provide a resilient water supply in the face of a changing climate. The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have increased the region’s water supply reliability through diversified and innovative technologies like water recycling.
The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have promoted the advancement of water recycling and potable reuse in San Diego County by developing educational resources such as potablereuse.sdcwa.org and obtaining outside funding from the Metropolitan Water District’s local resource program, and local, state, and federal grant and loan opportunities. Over the last year the Water Authority Board supported local potable reuse projects such as Pure Water San Diego, the East County Advanced Water Purification Program, and Pure Water Oceanside.
The video series was made possible through funding provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the work of members of SCWC’s Water Recycling Task Force video subcommittee, comprised of representatives from the San Diego County Water Authority and other agencies throughout Southern California.
The City of San Diego’s Pure Water Demonstration Facility public tour is now available as a virtual tour. A new video provides an up-close look at the technology behind the water purification plant. In-person tours are on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic and will resume once it is safe to do so. Since opening in June 2011, nearly 19,000 people have toured the one-million-gallon-per-day facility in person.