East San Diego County breaks ground on water purification program

Marking an important milestone for the project and the region, elected officials, water industry leaders and city representatives will break ground this week on the East County Advanced Water Purification Program at the future site of the treatment facility in Santee, California.

The groundbreaking follows approval of project construction on May 19, 2022, by the East County AWP Joint Powers Authority, which owns, administers and operates the program. The guaranteed maximum price for construction was set at $950 million.

Scheduled to be complete in 2026, the East County AWP Program is unlike any project in San Diego County and will generate up to 11.5 million gallons per day of new drinking water — approximately 30 percent of current drinking water demands for East San Diego County residents.

The program will use four advanced water purification steps to produce water that is near-distilled in quality. After the advanced water purification process, the purified water will be blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated again at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed as drinking water.

The program is a partnership between four agencies that comprise the East County AWP JPA: Padre Dam Municipal Water District, County of San Diego, City of El Cajon and Helix Water District.

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