New advanced water purification center opens in California
The Santa Clara Valley Water District of California celebrated the grand opening of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center -- a new, locally-controlled, drought-proof water source for Silicon Valley.
Jul 21st, 2014
July 21, 2014 -- On Friday, July 18, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) of California, in partnership with the cities of San José and Santa Clara, celebrated the grand opening of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center -- a new, locally-controlled, drought-proof water source for Silicon Valley. Located in northern San José, the new purification center, owned and operated by SCVWD, is already producing up to 8 million gallons per day (GPD) of highly purified water and is the largest facility of its kind in Northern California.
The $72-million project began construction in November of 2010. The new facility received $8.25 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and $5.25 million from the California Department of Water Resources. The city of San José contributed $11 million toward the construction and provided a long-term lease for the land. The water district has funded the remainder of the project costs.
The new facility is using advanced technologies to purify water which has already undergone two levels of quality wastewater treatment sourced from the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility (RWF). At the new purification center, the water undergoes three additional high-tech processes -- microfiltration, reverse osmosis (RO) and ultraviolet (UV) light -- to produce water that is so pure, it is expected to match drinking water quality.
Instead of going to the bay, this water will be distributed via the regional "purple pipe" recycled water system, delivered by South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR), a program within the RWF, and used for industrial cooling towers, golf courses and car washes, throughout San José, Milpitas and Santa Clara. Approximately 750 customers of the SBWR program are now enjoying the enhanced recycled water, which has a lower level of total dissolved solids. This helps reduce chemical use and maintenance costs for industrial users and is easier on some plant species because it reduces salt buildup.
Recycled water has been used successfully in Santa Clara County for decades. Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Gilroy all produce recycled water from their wastewater facilities. In Sunnyvale, the water district is helping to fund a pipeline that will bring recycled water to the new Apple campus. In Gilroy, the water district is building new pipelines to expand the system to serve more customers, including farmers, golf courses and parks. SBWR will provide recycled water to the new 49er Levi's Stadium.
Today, recycled water makes up about 5 percent of the county's total water demands. By 2025, the water district hopes to double that number. The new purification center is one important step to reaching that goal. Not only does it make recycled water more attractive to existing and potential customers, it is demonstrating proven technologies to produce high quality water that can be used for various potential uses, including expanding drinking water supplies.
Recycled water is a major component of the water district's long-term water supply management plan. This plan also calls for aggressive water conservation savings. However, even with aggressive conservation savings, Santa Clara County will need the additional security of a locally-controlled, drought-proof water supply. Along with conservation, advanced purified water will help meet all future growth -- and associated water supply needs -- within the county.
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About Santa Clara Valley Water District
The Santa Clara Valley Water District manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 1.8 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 275 miles of streams. For more information, visit www.valleywater.org.