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East County’s $950M Water Recycling Project Could be in Jeopardy as San Diego Nixes Pipeline Deal

East County officials fear a $950 million sewage recycling project could get flushed down the drain because of a pipeline deal gone awry.

Leaders spearheading the endeavor blame San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria — who signed off on building an eight-mile “brine line” as recently as last year but has since reneged on that commitment.

The pipeline would prevent concentrated waste generated by the East County project’s reverse osmosis filtration system from entering into the city’s own $5 billion Pure Water sewage recycling project now under construction. Instead the byproduct would be routed into the city’s larger wastewater system.

Construction of Sewage Recycling Pipeline Expected to Disrupt Neighborhoods This Summer, Fall

Neighborhoods across northern San Diego will be disrupted by tunneling and pipeline construction this summer when work kicks into high gear on Pure Water, the largest infrastructure project in city history.

With contracts totaling more than $1 billion recently awarded for eight of the 10 major projects that make up Pure Water’s first phase, city officials say nearly the entire project will be under construction starting in late summer or early fall.

Valley’s ‘Water Blueprint’ Makes Splash With Statewide Push for $6.5bil in Water Funds

A coalition of water stakeholder organizations from across California joined together to send a letter addressed to Gov. Gavin Newsom and six key legislators requesting action to address water issues.

The nine page document dated April 19, 2022 was signed by 18 organizations and entities including the San Joaquin Valley Water Blueprint and 10 Southern California, four Bay Area and three trade groups.

Coastal Panel Staff Advises Against Huntington Beach Desalination Plant

A proposed California desalination plant that would produce 50 million gallons of drinking water per day failed a crucial regulatory hurdle on Monday, possibly dooming a project that had been promoted as a partial solution for sustained drought.

The staff of the California Coastal Commission recommended denying approval of the Huntington Beach plant proposed by Poseidon Water, controlled by the infrastructure arm of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management.

Can You Solve Drought by Piping Water Across the Country?

The idea of taking water from one community and giving it to another has some basis in American history. In 1913, Los Angeles opened an aqueduct to carry water from Owens Valley, 230 miles north of the city, to sustain its growth.

But the project, in addition to costing some $23 million at the time, greatly upset Owens Valley residents, who so resented losing their water that they took to dynamiting the aqueduct. Repeatedly.

Pure Water Oceanside Provides New Local Supply of Drinking Water

Pure Water Oceanside is the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County, providing a new local supply. The facility was officially dedicated with a celebration Tuesday in Oceanside. Elected officials and water leaders throughout Southern California commemorated the milestone which coincided with World Water Day.

Pure Water Oceanside Becomes First Water Reuse Project to Open in San Diego

Pure Water Oceanside will be the first operating potable water reuse project in San Diego County. Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water to provide a local water supply that is clean, safe and drought-proof.

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Pure Water Oceanside Provides New Local Supply of Drinking Water

Pure Water Oceanside is the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County, providing a new local supply. The facility was officially dedicated with a celebration Tuesday in Oceanside. Elected officials and water leaders throughout Southern California commemorated the milestone which coincided with World Water Day.

Pure Water Oceanside purifies recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound.

“On this World Water Day, we celebrate the City of Oceanside’s contribution to managing our invaluable water resources with the opening of Pure Water Oceanside,” said Cari Dale, City of Oceanside water utilities director. “Today we made history by moving one step closer to achieving the goal of greater water independence for not only our city, residents and businesses, but also the region as a whole.”

20% of Oceanside’s drinking water supply

The $70 million project uses advanced technology, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to provide 3 million gallons per day or more than 20% of the City of Oceanside’s drinking water supply. The source of the recycled water to create the purified water is from the city’s own San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility.

Drought-proof water supply

“Pure Water Oceanside exemplifies our commitment to innovative projects that improve the lives of the citizens who call our great city home,” said City of Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez. “Not only will the project safeguard against ongoing drought concerns, but it will also improve the quality and quantity of our local aquifer and reduce our reliance on imported water, ensuring clean and reliable water is available for future generations.”

Pure Water Oceanside-Recycling-Potable Reuse-Water Supply

The $70 million project uses advanced technology, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to provide 3 million gallons per day or more than 20% of the City of Oceanside’s drinking water supply. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Pure Water Oceanside addresses a variety of challenges faced by the city. Before the project went online, Oceanside imported most of its water from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River, hundreds of miles away. This imported water is subject to rising costs out of the city’s control, requires an enormous amount of energy to transport and is vulnerable to natural disasters and earthquakes. Pure Water Oceanside addresses these challenges by diversifying the city’s water supply and reducing its reliance on imported water.

The launching of Pure Water Oceanside coincides with a larger movement for the region as a whole to create sustainable water supplies in San Diego County. In addition to Pure Water Oceanside, two other water reuse projects are planned for the region: the East County Advanced Water Purification Program and Pure Water San Diego.

(Editor’s note: The City of Oceanside, City of San Diego, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, and the Helix Water District are four of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

Phase I Construction-Construction of major water infrastructure for Phase 1 of Pure Water San Diego including pipelines, pump stations and treatment facilities is now taking place in the Morena, Bay Park, Clairemont, University City, Miramar and Scripps Ranch communities. Construction affects

Pure Water San Diego Phase 1 Construction in North City Area

Construction work is underway in several areas of San Diego, building major infrastructure projects for Phase 1 of Pure Water San Diego.

Phase 1 of Pure Water San Diego, including pipelines, pump stations, and treatment facilities, has started in Morena, Bay Park, Clairemont, University City, Miramar, and Scripps Ranch communities. It is a milestone toward the realization of securing a local, drought-resilient water supply for San Diegans for generations to come.

Nearly 50% of San Diego’s water supply

Pure Water is the City of San Diego’s largest-ever infrastructure program that will provide nearly half of San Diego’s water supply by 2035. Pure Water will use purification technology to clean recycled wastewater and is a cost-effective investment for San Diego’s water supply needs.

Residents, businesses, and commuters may be impacted by road closures, detours, and construction noise during construction. Construction for this project will primarily take place on weeknights from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., except on Nobel Drive, when construction will take place on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tunneling work will be done around the clock with adherence to noise requirements.

Pure Water project will reduce dependence on imported water

“Potholing” is underground work that finds the location and depth of existing utilities in the public right-of-way. Potholing is currently being done for the Morena Northern Pipeline & Tunnels and the North City Pure Water San Diego Pipeline projects. Photo: City of San Diego Construction affects

“Potholing” is underground work that finds the location and depth of existing utilities in the public right-of-way. Potholing is currently being done for the Morena Northern Pipeline & Tunnels and the North City Pure Water San Diego Pipeline projects. Photo: City of San Diego

Upon its completion, Pure Water San Diego will contribute 30 million gallons per day of high-quality purified water, reducing the City’s dependence on imported water.

The Morena Northern Pipelines and Tunnels project now underway will connect to the Morena Pipelines Middle Alignment to the south and the North City Water Reclamation Plant to the north.

Water pipelines

This project includes portions of two 10.5-mile pipelines: one 48-inch wastewater pipeline, which will carry wastewater north to the North City facilities for purification, and one 30-inch brine line that will carry the byproduct from water purification south to the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.

This project begins on Genesee Avenue and Appleton Street and continues on Genesee Avenue, Nobel Drive, Towne Centre Drive, and Executive Drive. Tunneling will be completed at Genesee Avenue and State Route 52 (San Clemente Creek), at Genesee Avenue and Rose Creek Canyon, and under Interstate 805.

Securing San Diego’s sustainable water future

This project begins on Genesee Avenue and Appleton Street and continues on Genesee Avenue, Nobel Drive, Towne Centre Drive, and Executive Drive. Tunneling will be completed at Genesee Avenue and State Route 52 (San Clemente Creek), at Genesee Avenue and Rose Creek Canyon, and under Interstate 805. Map: City of San Diego

Currently, the City of San Diego depends primarily on a reliable imported water supply to deliver clean and safe drinking water to its communities. The investment in advanced water purification with the construction of Pure Water San Diego will help secure a high-quality, safe, local, and drought-proof water supply for the future. Phase 1 is scheduled to be completed and commence operation in 2024. Pure Water San Diego will eventually provide nearly half of San Diego’s water supply locally by 2035 with the completion of Phase 2.

Purified water produced at the completed plant will be delivered to the Miramar Reservoir, blended with the City of San Diego’s imported and local water sources, and treated again at the existing Miramar Water Treatment Plant. After this process, the water will be distributed to customers.

You can take a virtual tour of Pure Water San Diego’s demonstration facility at virtualtour.purewatersd.org More information about the Program can be found at www.purewatersd.org.

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

State Legislature-Otay Water District-65th anniversary-Otay Building

Otay Water District Celebrates 65 Years of Service to Southeast Communities

Sixty-five years ago in 1955, six South Bay community leaders met at Christie’s Restaurant in Chula Vista to discuss ways to import water into the southern part of San Diego County. The shared vision of a plumber, civil engineer, an attorney, a newspaper publisher, and two regional landowners created the framework and found seed funding for what became the Otay Water District.

Landowners Ralph W. Chapman and Fred J. Hansen led efforts along with Ray Coyle, vice chairman of the San Diego County Water Authority and publisher of the Chula Vista Star News, in search of a solution for the South Bay’s declining quality and quantity of well water. Photo: Otay Water District 65 years of service

Spring Valley landowners Ralph W. Chapman and Fred J. Hansen led efforts along with Ray Coyle, vice chairman of the San Diego County Water Authority and publisher of the Chula Vista Star-News, in search of a solution for the South Bay’s declining quality and quantity of well water. Photo: Otay Water District

The district was formally established in 1956. The population served at the time was less than 1,200 people. Today, the Otay Water District provides safe, reliable water and wastewater services to more than 226,000 customers within approximately 125 square miles of southeastern San Diego County, including the communities of eastern Chula Vista, Bonita, Jamul, Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego, unincorporated areas of El Cajon and La Mesa, and east Otay Mesa along the international border of Mexico.

Commitment to service

“Serving customers for 65 years is something we take seriously. We take pride in our commitment to our customers,” said Otay Water District Board President Tim Smith. “We also value our employees because without them we couldn’t provide the high-quality customer service that we do. Through excellence, integrity, teamwork, and innovation, the District, its board, and staff work daily toward the same goal of ensuring a reliable water supply and sewer system and continuing to enhance our operational practices.”

The communities receive imported water supplied by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority, and the Helix Water District.

In 1995, both Boards of Directors voted unanimously to dissolve La Presa County Water District. Otay Municipal Water District took control of all La Presa’s assets and resources. Photo: Otay Water District

Key historic milestones

In 1969, the Helix Water District’s R.M. Levy Filtration Plant begins delivering filtered water to Otay customers.

In 1979, the Ralph W. Chapman Water Recycling Facility was completed. Recycled water from the plant irrigates a portion of eastern Chula Vista. Photo: Otay Water District

In 1979, the Ralph W. Chapman Water Recycling Facility was completed. Recycled water from the plant irrigates a portion of eastern Chula Vista. It can produce up to 1.1 million gallons of recycled water per day. In 2017, the District invested in upgrades to the plant’s major service pipeline including advanced technology and monitoring software to preserve the life of the existing facility. This proactive maintenance is estimated to save ratepayers $8 million in repairs.

The Otay Water District signed an agreement in 2003 to purchase recycled water from the City of San Diego’s South Bay Water Reclamation Plant in San Ysidro. Twelve years later, the Carlsbad Desalination Plant begins operations including delivery of drinking water to Otay’s service area.

The District began taking advantage of manufacturer warranties to upgrade more than 49,600 automated meter reading registers originally installed between 2004 and 2012, saving ratepayers approximately $3.3 million in meter replacement costs. Using AMR meters reduces staff time and costs, improves safety, and makes use of historical water-use data to identify unexplained usage through leak, tamper, and back-flow detection alarms.

Alexander Schultz, Otay Water District geographic information systems technician, operates a drone in front of a district water storage tank. Photo: Otay Water District 65 Years

Alexander Schultz, Otay Water District geographic information systems technician, operates a drone in front of a district water storage tank. Photo: Otay Water District

In 2018, after a two-year study and evaluation period, Otay began using drones to assist with the preliminary inspection of water facilities, including 40 potable water reservoirs. Drone technology can provide time savings with initial inspections and allows for a safer examination process of the District’s assets.

Recruiting military veterans

Legislation co-sponsored by the San Diego County Water Authority and the Otay Water District was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019, making it easier for military veterans to launch careers in the water industry. AB 1588, initiated by Otay Water District General Manager and U.S. Navy veteran Jose Martinez, updates the current water and wastewater certification system by giving military veterans credit for their experience and education that is applicable to the water industry. Veterans can enter the water workforce at a higher pay grade than was previously possible.

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State legislators, water industry leaders, veteran advocates and business and community organizations gathered at the Veterans Museum in San Diego Oct. 16, 2019 to celebrate Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signing of Assembly Bill 1588 by Assemblymembers Todd Gloria (San Diego) and Adam Gray (Merced), and co-authored by several state legislators, including Assemblymember Tasha Boerner Horvath (Oceanside). The San Diego County Water Authority and the Otay Water District co-sponsored the bill to increase the number of military veterans entering the civilian water and wastewater industry at a time when many Baby Boomers are retiring. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Today, the Otay Water District is focused on reducing water waste and overall water use. San Diego County has been better prepared for drought than other parts of California in part due to the Otay Water District’s investment in conservation, water recycling, seawater desalination, and transitional storage over the past two decades.

“I’m proud to be part of and serve an agency like the District because as an organization, we strive to provide excellent water and wastewater service to our community, while at the same time managing operational efficiencies to minimize rates to our customers,” said Otay Water District General Manager Jose Martinez. “Throughout 65 years, we are one of the few water districts that still has room to grow; we have continued to ensure a reliable water supply to our increasing population, and we will continue to do so.”

The District remains as dedicated to community service as when it was founded. Responsible resource planning, sound fiscal management, respect for the environment, and paying close attention to its customers’ needs will ensure its future reflects its history.

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