San Diego County Water Authority supports large-scale potable reuse project

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May 30, 2014 -- On Thursday, May 22, the San Diego County Water Authority's Board of Directors -- following in the footsteps of the San Diego City Council -- granted their full support to the city's proposed large-scale potable reuse project Pure Water San Diego through a formal resolution.

The San Diego City Council approved a formal resolution on Tuesday, April 29, stating full support of the city's program to provide a safe, secure and drought-proof local drinking water supply through the advanced treatment of recycled water. The resolution grants the authorization to proceed with implementing the various facets of the Pure Water Program.

City staff have begun the formalization of an implementation strategy and have initiated technical studies to refine system-wide reuse concepts developed in the 2012 Recycled Water Study. The study determined that a multi-phase potable reuse project could add up to 83 million gallons per day of highly-reliable water to the region. It also would significantly reduce wastewater discharges to the ocean and help address regulatory compliance at the city's Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant by diverting flows.

"The issue of reliable water for our city is more important than ever, and it is one that I have taken a special interest in during my time on the Council and as Mayor," said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. "San Diego imports 85 percent of its water, and pursuing potable reuse would give us water independence and create a local sustainable supply of high-quality drinking water. We are currently missing an opportunity by dumping 175 million gallons of useable water to the ocean every day."

Currently, 1 million gallons of water is purified every day at the city's demonstration facility located near University Towne Center. The water produced meets all federal and state drinking water standards but is for testing purposes only. The water is not currently added to the drinking water supply.

The water purification process includes a three-step treatment process of membrane filtration, reverse osmosis (RO) and advanced oxidation with ultraviolet (UV) light and hydrogen peroxide. Following one year of testing and publication of results, the City Council unanimously adopted the findings in April 2013 and set forth directives for implementing water purification in San Diego.

"This is a critical juncture for the city of San Diego. Imported water supplies have doubled in cost since 2008 and are expected to continue to rise, which translates to rate increases for our residents," said Halla Razak, the city's Public Utilities Director. "The Pure Water Program is a comprehensive effort that will provide a secure and reliable long-term local water supply for San Diego while resolving decade-long issues associated with Point Loma."

See also: "San Diego water purification plant hits milestone with 5,000th tour guest"


About Pure Water San Diego

Pure Water San Diego is the city's 20-year program to provide a safe, secure and sustainable local drinking water supply for San Diego. A demonstration project (2009-2013) confirmed the feasibility of using water purification technology to supplement imported water supplies in the San Vicente Reservoir. An initial 15-million gallon per day water purification facility is planned to be in operation by 2025. By 2035, 30 percent of San Diego's drinking water supply could come from the use of water purification technology. For more information, click here.

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