Encinitas, Calif. — The California Department of Water Resources approved a grant package that will provide $2.8 million in state grant funding to three North County water and wastewater agencies to expand and upgrade recycled water infrastructure.
California American Water officials are defending the company’s proposed desalination project in response to the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s move last month to formally oppose it at the Coastal Commission in favor of a proposed recycled water expansion.
Four elected officials representing area water districts expressed frustration with state laws aimed at water conservation during an American Liberty Forum of Ramona informational meeting Saturday, June 27.
Roughly 50 attendees gathered at Ramona Mainstage to hear the “Water Regulations Today and Tomorrow” presenters discuss the pending impacts of Senate Bill 606 and Assembly Bill 1668, which were signed into law by former Gov. Jerry Brown in May 2018.
The West Basin Municipal Water District announced the completion of a recycled water pipeline at Sares Regis Group’s Torrance Commerce Center on the site of the former Toyota Motor North America Inc. headquarters campus.
The pipeline will use water from the district’s water recycling facility in El Segundo instead of drinking water to irrigate the landscape surrounding three new buildings, according to the June 11 announcement.
County Named Recycled Water Customer of the Year
Encinitas, Calif. — The WateReuse Association of California recognized County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation as a 2020 Recycled Water Customer of the Year today. The award was presented at WateReuse’s first virtual conference. Olivenhain Municipal Water District nominated the County for its dedication to using sustainable recycled water to irrigate County parks in OMWD’s service area.
A water recycling project that will purify treated wastewater into drinking water for East San Diego County is moving toward its completion date after the Helix Water District Board of Directors authorized the signing of water purchase agreements.
The East County Advanced Water Purification Project is a collaborative, regional effort to diversify the district’s water portfolio and provide a drought-proof supply. The water reuse project will further enhance reliability by purifying treated wastewater using Lake Jennings and other facilities.
The Helix Water District Board of Directors authorized its General Manager to sign water purchase agreements for the East County Advanced Water Purification Project at a special meeting on May 27.
Water recycling project ‘investment in water supply reliability’
The $681 million project, led by the East County AWP Joint Powers Authority, will recycle daily wastewater flows from Santee, El Cajon, Lakeside, Winter Gardens and Alpine. Treated water will undergo membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to produce water that is near-distilled in quality.
The purified water will be piped into Helix’s Lake Jennings before undergoing additional processing at the district’s R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant and then distributed as safe, clean drinking water.
“I’m looking forward to the development of this project and I believe it’s an investment that strengthens our district’s water supply reliability and security,” said Helix Water District Board President Mark Gracyk. “This is a great example of what can be accomplished by working with our neighboring agencies.”
Water reuse will reduce dependence on imported water
East County AWP project water will reduce east San Diego County’s dependence on imported water by almost 30% once full operations begin in 2026. The project will create a local supply for the East County at about the same cost as what Helix pays now for imported water, according to the Helix Water District.
San Diego County water agencies, including Helix, Padre Dam, and the cities of San Diego and Oceanside, are developing or expanding water recycling projects. Diversifying local supply sources remains a priority for the San Diego County Water Authority. Imported sources, including water from the Colorado River and State Water Project, can be cutback during times of drought.
“The project was conceived by JPA members as a way to reduce rising wastewater costs for their customers,” said Helix Water District General Manager Carlos Lugo. “For Helix to participate, the project had to make financial sense for our ratepayers as well. By expanding our local supply, the East County AWP project water will help ensure that we are better able to navigate future droughts.”
The 30-year purchase agreements establish the cost and quantity of water that Helix will purchase from the East County AWP JPA under the proposed project.
Agency collaboration on sustainability
Helix and the JPA members – Padre Dam Municipal Water District, San Diego County Sanitation District and the City of El Cajon – have been working together to evaluate the ECAWP plan since 2014. Each JPA member has until 2021 to make a final decision on the feasibility of the project and participation.
Helix has invested $850,000 and significant board and staff resources to study the feasibility of the project, including a tracer study with Scripps Institution of Oceanography to learn how water moves and mixes in Lake Jennings.
“We are committed to exploring sustainable projects that benefit our customers,” said Gracyk. “The ECAWP project will be a great complement to our other ongoing investments in regional water supply projects, such as the Carlsbad Desalination Plant, to ensure we have enough water to meet demand.”
Friday, the San Diego City Council is set to review and give final approval to the historic deal to transfer the city’s Mission Valley land to San Diego State University. But late Friday, City Attorney Mara Elliott sent around another list of concerns this time focused on the city’s long-term plans to recycle wastewater. Elliott’s deputies wrote that city would face “dire consequences in the future” if the deal goes forward as SDSU has sketched out in its final purchase and sales agreement.
If you have some quarantine time to kill, you can read the full memo, which includes background and explanation of the dilemma. The land is largely owned by the city in its Water Utility Fund and a large groundwater aquifer that the city could use to store water in the future.
The city plans to recycle water to such an extent that someday it will make up about a third of the city’s water source. It’s called the Pure Water project.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board approved a rescission of the waste discharge order for Camp Pendleton’s California Sewage Treatment Plant No. 9.
The 7-0 board vote May 13 eliminates the waste discharge requirements for the Las Pulgas plant which has been replaced.
The RWQCB initially issued a waste discharge order for the plant in 1998. The sewage has since been diverted to Camp Pendleton’s Southern Regional Tertiary Treatment Plant and Northern Regional Tertiary Treatment Plant, which supports the production of recycled water for landscape irrigation and seawater intrusion mitigation.
Between 1999 and 2012 the United States Marine Corps received 12 staff enforcement letters regarding California Sewage Treatment Plant No. 9 and three notices of violation for the waste discharge order. During that time 94 violations for deficient monitoring, overflow events, and exceeding the pH limit occurred. No violations took place during the final seven years of the California Sewage Treatment Plant No. 9 operation.
A water dam and reservoir under construction on land acquired from Rancho Mission Viejo has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, according to Santa Margarita Water District Deputy General Manager Don Bunts.
Recent rainfall, however, has affected the Trampas Canyon Dam and Reservoir project, which intends to store recycled water. Work on the project restarted on Monday, April 27, after being delayed for a few weeks, Bunts said.
Amid continuing debate over the role the proposed Pure Water Monterey recycled water project expansion will play in the Monterey Peninsula’s water supply, the proposal has reached a key stage.