San Juan Capistrano to dedicate new RO treatment plant Feb. 17

As part of dedication, city to make "declaration of independence" from buying as much water from outside agencies...

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA, Feb. 15, 2005 -- Southwest Water Company is hosting a dedication ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 17 for the new Reverse Osmosis Groundwater Recovery Plant in San Juan Capistrano.

As lead partner with the city on the $25 million, design-build-finance-operate project, Southwest Water, an ECO Resources subsidiary, is commending the city's progressive approach toward water management. The event is by invitation only.

The keynote speaker will be Jack Foley, a member of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Water District, where he represents the Municipal Water District of Orange County. Among numerous committee assignments, Foley serves on the board's Desalination and Reclamation Committee; Water Planning, Quality and Resources Committee; and the Colorado River Board and Negotiation Team (see:

A key figure in California water and sanitation matters on local, regional and state levels, Foley is the general manager of the Moulton Niguel Water District. From 1976 to 1979, he was general manager of the Aliso Water Management Agency. In 1986, then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed him to the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, which he ultimately chaired for two years.

In July 1993, the Water Advisory Committee of Orange County appointed Foley a trustee on the Southern California Water Committee. In February 1994, he was appointed by then-Governor Pete Wilson to the Bay/Delta Oversight Council. A past president of the Orange County Water Association, he is a member of the American Water Works Association, Colorado River Water Users Association, the Association of California Water Agencies and the California Association of Sanitation Agencies.

Other expected speakers include:
-- Orange County Supervisor Tom Wilson,
-- San Juan Capistrano Mayor Wyatt Hart,
-- Southwest Water chairman and CEO Anton Garnier,
-- Gary Hausdorfer, of The Diamond Group,
-- Diana Alston, western regional marketing manager for GE's new Infrastructure Water & Process Technology Division (formerly Osmonics), which supplied the reverse osmosis membrane system for the project,

The city of San Juan Capistrano sits astride a large aquifer, with underground geological formations of sand, rock and gravel acting as an earthen sponge. Water seeps into it from rainfall, nearby waterways, and the ocean. During its travels, this groundwater accumulates salt and other particles, making it brackish and undrinkable.

Gaining momentum as a method to purify this water is membrane separation, principally reverse osmosis (RO). The accumulation of 25 years of experience and advances in technology have significantly reduced the cost of constructing and operating RO plants, making them attractive alternatives compared to other treatment options. In California, fewer than a dozen locales in the entire state have RO facilities either operating or approved for construction. This city of 30,000, is now a leader for the United States in a water supply strategy that already dominates in most of the world.

The largest part of the construction was financed through municipal bonds, while operating costs and plant maintenance to deliver fresh drinking water to the city's distribution center will come from water bills paid by residents every month. The new facility is the city's "declaration of independence" from having to buy as much supplemental and more costly water from outside agencies.

The groundwater recovery plant will give the city its own safe, sustainable and environmentally sustainable supply of fresh water for generations to come. Its capacity of 5.14 million gallons a day will supply virtually all the water the city needs in winter months and about half its need in the summer.

GE Infrastructure
GE Infrastructure (, headquartered in Wilton, Conn., is a high-technology business platform, comprised of some of GE's fastest-growing strategic units, including the Sensing, Security, and Water & Process Technologies ( subplatforms. These global businesses offer a set of infrastructure protection and productivity solutions to some of the most pressing issues that industries face.


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