MWD joins L.A. Sanitation Districts to explore recycled water supply program

The Metropolitan Water District's Board of Directors has approved the first step of a project that will potentially develop a large-scale regional treatment project to purify wastewater currently discharged into the Pacific Ocean and instead use it to recharge local groundwater basins.

LOS ANGELES, CA, Nov. 12, 2015 -- The Metropolitan Water District (MWD) of California's Board of Directors recently approved the first step of a project that will pave the way toward the potential development of a large-scale regional treatment project to purify wastewater currently discharged into the Pacific Ocean and instead use it to recharge local groundwater basins.

The board authorized an agreement with the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County to develop a 1-million-gallon-per-day demonstration plant and also to establish terms and conditions for future development of what could become the largest recycled water supply program of its kind in the nation.

Under the partnership, MWD could ultimately build a new purification plant to produce up to 168,000 acre-feet per year at the Sanitation District's Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson along with about 30 miles of distribution pipelines to replenish groundwater basins in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

MWD Board Chairman Randy Record said the proposed program would represent the first in-region production of water by MWD, the Southland's primary water import agency. "The purified water produced by this program would represent a new drought-proof supply to help replenish the region’s groundwater basins, which typically produce about a third of Southern California's overall water needs," he said.

MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said the proposed project involves the use of established technologies to purify secondary-treated wastewater and convert it into a supply that is suitable for indirect potable reuse through groundwater recharge. "Under this program, water would be purified and injected or spread into local groundwater basins as an added safety barrier before being pumped out and used as drinking water," he said.

The MWD Board action authorizes $15 million for the demonstration plant and feasibility studies. The board of directors of the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County will consider the proposed agreement terms on Nov. 16. The program's first operational phase could produce about 67,000 acre-feet of recycled water per year. Additional phases could bring total production up to 168,000 acre-feet.

See also:

"The Recycling Revolution: Water Recycling Trends, Technologies in CA amid Ongoing Drought"

"EPA awards $50K grant to L.A. school district to educate students on water conservation"

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