San Diego Reuse Project Moves Forward

The City of San Diego has been conducting a two-year study, looking at ways to turn wastewater into drinking water at the North City Water Reclamation Plant. The advanced water treatment project is now one step closer to becoming reality.

City Councilman David Alvarez, who is heading up the committee overseeing the project, said overcoming the ?yuk factor? was tough. ?There?s always, in the back of people?s mind the thought that it came from sewer lines.? Alvarez said.

The City of San Diego has limited local water sources and relies on importing approximately 85 to 90 percent of its water supply. In the past, importing water from the Colorado River and Northern California has been a low-cost, reliable option, but environmental stresses and court-ordered pumping restrictions have continued to reduce the amount of water that can be delivered to San Diego. These circumstances and the threat of further limitations on our water supplies have intensified the need for new sources of water. The City of San Diego is working to develop local solutions for future water supply reliability. The three-phased Water Reuse program is one of those solutions.

The reuse project, which has been in the works for several years, involves a process in which protozoa and micro-filtration is removed from the water. Then it goes through reverse osmosis and finally what is called advanced oxidation using ultraviolent light and hydrogen peroxide.

?The sewage treated using this technology is actually better quality than our current tap water,? said Alvarez. The plan would help offset the rising cost of water for ratepayers by producing 15 million gallons per day.

In Sacramento, meantime, state legislators are proposing a complete overhaul of the California plumbing network with a cost of $35 billion.?Alvarez is planning a trip to Sacramento next week to negotiate a way to incorporate this new treatment facility into the cost of the state plan.

While some are still squeamish over the source of the water, polls show 75 percent of residents now embraced the idea. The city has approved going ahead with more research, as the current project cost is estimated at about $320 million.

For more information, visit http://www.sandiego.gov/water/waterreuse/waterreusestudy/.

Some of the information contained in this article was taken from a report by FOX5 local news in San Diego.

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