Southwest Water, San Juan Capistrano dedicate $25M groundwater recovery plant

Southwest Water Co. and San Juan Capistrano, Calif., officially dedicated the city's new, $25 million Groundwater Recovery Plant at a ceremony Feb. 17. The event marked the completion of a two-year construction project, which Southwest Water managed through its subsidiary ECO Resources Inc., which has begun a 20-year, $20-million contract to operate and maintain the plant...

Mar 2nd, 2005

LOS ANGELES, March 2, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Southwest Water Co. and San Juan Capistrano, Calif., officially dedicated the city's new, $25 million Groundwater Recovery Plant at a ceremony Feb. 17. The event marked the completion of a two-year construction project, which Southwest Water managed through its subsidiary ECO Resources Inc., which has begun a 20-year, $20-million contract to operate and maintain the plant.

Among the dedication ceremony audience of more than 100 guests were officials from San Juan Capistrano, neighboring cities and regional water agencies, executives from water industry contracting firms, and elected county and state representatives. Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson presented a special county proclamation to San Juan Capistrano Mayor Wyatt Hart, praising the city's foresight and technological leadership. Attendees toasted the city with champagne flutes filled with water fresh from the plant.

The state-of-the-art facility uses reverse osmosis technology to treat up to 5.1 million gallons daily of highly mineralized local groundwater, drawn from six newly drilled wells and pumped through 5.5 miles of pipeline that were also constructed as part of the project. ECO Resources brought the treatment plant in on schedule with no reportable injuries in 70,000 worker hours. The Southern California chapter of the American Public Works Association bestowed on the operation its Project of the Year Award.

Anton C. Garnier, Southwest Water chairman and CEO, said, "From the start, this project has been a textbook example of a model public-private partnership. Now, two years later, San Juan Capistrano has a treatment plant that will provide half its water needs in the summer and almost all in the winter, without having to purchase as much from outside agencies. Further, the facility has enabled the city to take advantage of financial incentives offered by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California through its Groundwater Replenishment Program, which is designed to reduce municipal water agencies' dependence on water from such sources as the Colorado River.

"We're very gratified to be a part of this important effort," Garnier concluded. "Our experience with reverse osmosis includes the design, construction and operation of a facility in El Paso County, Texas, and operation and maintenance of other plants in Torrance, California, Pascagoula, Mississippi, and Texas. Southwest Water is proud to be working with San Juan Capistrano to provide a quality source of drinking water for generations to come."

Reverse osmosis forces water molecules under high pressure through semi-permeable membranes to prevent salt and mineral molecules and other microscopic particles, from passing through. The result is pure water. GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies supplied the RO membrane technology involved in the project.

"It has been a very gratifying experience for GE to work with other technology innovators in creating this facility on time and on budget for the historic city of San Juan Capistrano. A safe and reliable water source is essential for public health protection and an enjoyable standard of living," said Diana Alston, GE's West Coast marketing manager.

In addition to Mayor Hart and Wilson, speakers included Larry Dick, a Metropolitan Water District board director, Anton C. Garnier, Southwest Water Chairman and CEO, GE's Alston, Chris Price from the office of California Assemblywoman Mimi Walters and Gary Hausdorfer from The Diamond Group.

The plant will supply virtually all of SJC's winter water needs and half of its summer water demands. The project was funded from tax-exempt AAA-bonds underwritten by Lehman Brothers and issued by the San Juan Basin Authority.

Southwest Water (www.swwc.com) provides a broad range of services Including water production, treatment and distribution; wastewater collection and treatment; utility billing and collection; utility infrastructure construction management; and public works services. The company owns regulated public utilities and also serves cities, utility districts and private companies under contract. More than two million people from coast to coast depend on Southwest Water for high-quality, reliable service.

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