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Nothing Icky About ‘Toilet-to-Tap’: Water Recycling Explained

Wastewater that recently swirled down a toilet bowl may be coming to your tap, in purified form, especially if you’re in a drought-stricken area where drinking water is increasingly scarce.

More municipal water systems in the West are considering water recycling, known in some places as “toilet-to-tap.” And Congress may begin supporting the idea as water systems scramble to find secure water supplies amid a decades-long drought driven by climate change, which may be the worst the region has experienced in more than a millennium.

Opinion: Secure California’s Future Water Supply and Invest in Recycled Water

Climate change is forcing our state to reimagine our water supply future. How do we do that? Easy — we reuse water.

Just like recycling a plastic bottle, we can safely use recycled water to drink, irrigate parks, support environmental uses, grow crops, produce energy, and much more. More than just a new source of water, water recycling projects provide a degree of local water independence.

Regional Recycled Water Project in Conflict; Arroyo Grande ‘Demanding’ Equal Share

A long-planned water recycling project for the Five Cities area — Central Coast Blue — hangs in uncertainty after the City of Arroyo Grande unanimously voted on June 8th to withdraw from the project unless their demand for a shared operating agreement is met.

Central Coast Blue, spearheaded by the City of Pismo Beach, is a multi-million dollar project set to bring a reliable water source to the Five Cities area by using recycled water. But the City of Arroyo Grande is having second thoughts, after Mayor Caren Ray-Russom said their demand to have equal decision making governance over the project was ignored.

Arizona’s Current Historic Drought May Be ‘Baseline for the Future’

Arizona and other Western states just lived through the driest year in more than a century, with no drought relief in sight in the near future, experts told a House panel Tuesday.

The period from last April to this March was the driest in the last 126 years for Arizona and other Western states, witnesses said. It caps a two-decade stretch that was the driest in more than 100 years that records have been kept – and one of the driest in the past 1,200 years based on paleohydrology evidence, one official said.

Olivenhain Municipal Water District-CWEA-award-water recycling

Recycled Water Facility is Plant of the Year

Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility is the California Water Environment Association‘s Plant of the Year.

The District’s Board of Directors accepted the award at its May 19 meeting from California Water Environment Association San Diego section. The Plant of the Year award acknowledges OMWD’s accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, and cost‐effectiveness.

“Our board is thrilled that 4S WRF has been recognized for industry‐leading procedures and techniques to produce high‐quality recycled water, increase water reliability, and operate safely, effectively, and economically,” said Olivenhain Municipal Water District Vice President Kristie Bruce‐Lane. “We need to focus on keeping water affordable and accessible to everyone. Diversifying California’s water portfolio by investing more in recycled water is a critical strategy in doing so, now and for our future generations.”

Recycled water

OMWD’s 4S WRF can produce up to two million gallons of recycled water each day. This alternative water supply is used for irrigation purposes at schools, parks, golf courses, streetscapes, and homeowner association common areas in the southeastern portion of OMWD’s service area.

“We appreciate the work of CWEA to advocate for realistic regulatory requirements for water agencies, helping us to maintain affordable rates for our ratepayers,” said Lane. “The way to move forward is by working together to create a thriving California that has enough fresh, clean and affordable water for people, food, and the environment alike.”

Proactive maintenace of infrastructure

4S WRF operators inspect and maintain more than 85 miles of sewer collection system pipelines, as well as equipment at the facility, lift stations, a 410-acre-foot storage pond, and a one-million-gallon reservoir. Proactive maintenance is also a priority, helping to avoid costly emergency repairs and ensuring continued wastewater and recycled water services for customers.

This is the second time in three years OMWD has won the San Diego section award. In 2019, 4S WRF was also named California’s “Plant of the Year” by CWEA’s state office.

Founded in 1927, the California Water Environment Association is a nonprofit association of 9,000-plus professionals in the wastewater industry. The association trains and certifies wastewater professionals, disseminates technical information, and promotes sound policies to benefit society through protection and enhancement of our water environment.

(Editor’s note: The Olivenhain Municipal Water District is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Opinion: The Future of Water Is Recycled Sewage, And We’ll All Be Drinking It

More than a few dystopian fantasies depict a future in which humanity’s water supply derives from recycled human waste. As Frank Herbert imagined it in his 1965 novel Dune — now a much-anticipated fall 2021 blockbuster — the humans inhabiting a dessicated, rainless planet must wear “stillsuits”— a rubbery second skin that captures sweat, urine and feces and recycles them into drinking water.

California Drought: Recycled Water Investment Paying Off For North Marin Water District

This is shaping up to be a long, dry summer and water managers across the state are looking for new sources to meet their demand.  But one small district in Marin County placed a bet on a drought-proof supply of water that may pay off big this year.

The town of Novato relies on Lake Stafford for its summer water supply and like most reservoirs this year, it is dangerously low. However, the local water district actually has more water than it can even use – but there’s a catch: most of it is recycled.

FPUD Approves Programmable Logic Controller Contract for Reclamation Plant

The Fallbrook Public Utility District approved a contract with SCADA Integrations to upgrade the conveyor system at FPUD’s Water Reclamation Plant with a programmable logic controller system.

A 5-0 FPUD board vote Monday, March 22, approved the request for proposals submission from SCADA Integrations. The upgrade will be constructed in two phases, and the contract has a total value of $128,470.

Santee Council Gets Update on Padre Dam’s Big Project

Padre Dam Municipal Water District wants to keep everyone in the loop about its massive sewage reclamation project, especially the city where the project is located — Santee.

At its March 24 virtual meeting, the Santee City Council approved a legal agreement to work collaboratively with the joint powers authority that is overseeing the nearly $700 million program called Advanced Water Purification.

Unlike so many other actions taken by the Santee Council, this one (called a memorandum of understanding or MOU), wasn’t required by the state Legislature in Sacramento. Instead, the idea was for the new oversight agency called the East County Advanced Water Purification Joint Powers Authority to be proactive, providing the city with all the information about the project, and how it will unfold.

Construction Begins on New Membrane Filtration Reverse Osmosis Treatment Facility

Construction of Escondido’s $65 million Membrane Filtration Reverse Osmosis Facility for Agriculture commenced recently, marking a milestone in the City’s goal of providing agriculture growers a high-quality irrigation supply and easing the burden on its wastewater infrastructure.