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Water Reuse Study E-Update - May 2006

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The Water Reuse Study team has created this "E-Update" to keep you up-to-date on Study activities and provide news about the recycled water industry. Each issue will be posted on this website. We are sending e-mail announcements of new issues to persons who have expressed an interest in the Study. If you did not receive an e-mail announcement and would like to, please join our news group. If you did receive an announcement about this issue, you are automatically in the news group.

If you are new to the Water Reuse Study, the Study Overview will provide helpful background information. The Frequently Asked Questions section contains additional material that may also be of interest.

Water Recycling the Focus at International Workshop

The City of San Diego Water Department was represented at the International Water Reuse Workshop, “Challenge of the 21st Century,” held in Tijuana, Mexico, on May 17, 18 and 19. A Water Department civil engineer spoke for 45 minutes to the group of 75-100 workshop attendees. The talk addressed the City’s recycled water program and gave an overview of the Water Reuse Study components and the advanced water treatment research conducted at the North City Water Reclamation Plant.

A presentation was also given by the Upper Occoquan Sewage Authority from Virginia, which has a reservoir augmentation project operating for nearly 30 years in the Washington D.C. area. Over 15 experts in recycled water and wastewater management spoke at the workshop and presentations were translated into English and Spanish. Speakers provided details of water reuse projects and research and came from Mexico, Africa, France, northern and southern California among other areas.

Update on the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment Project

The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWR) project is a joint effort of the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District, both in southern California. The current project phase will supply 72,000 acre feet per year (AFY) and will also include constructing the backbone facilities for future expansions. At complete build-out, the GWR project will be able to produce 140,000 AFY of advanced treated recycled water.

The GWR project will supplement Orange County's existing water supplies, protect the groundwater basin from further negative impacts of intruding seawater and treat storm runoff. The complete GWR system will have seven construction projects totaling $410.3 million and a total project cost of $486.9 million. There are three components to the GWR system project and all are currently under construction.

1) Build the Advanced Water Purification Facility in Fountain Valley. This facility will use a three-step process to purify the recycled water. The Fountain Valley location was the site of the Water Factory 21 facility that produced advanced treated recycled water which was injected into the groundwater basin to keep out intruding sea water. Current work on the facility includes installing the microfiltration equipment areas, reverse osmosis membrane vessels and six of the ultraviolet light components. This project is 60% done and has a scheduled completion date of August 2007.

2) Construct a 13-mile long pipeline along the Santa Ana River from the plant site in Fountain Valley to Anaheim. There are two sections of the pipeline, one 31,000 feet long and the other 17,000 feet. The pipelines range in diameter from 78 and 72 inches to 66 inches. This project is 60% done and the two sections are scheduled to be completed in May and June 2006.

3) Expand the seawater intrusion barrier facilities by installing injection wells at eight sites in the groundwater aquifer and perform other related work. The wells will inject the advanced treated purified water into the aquifer, forming an underwater dam that prevents the ocean water from seeping in and degrading the fresh water quality. This project is 95% done and is scheduled to be completed in June 2006. More information about the GWR project is available at www.gwrsystem.com or www.ocwd.com Source: April 2006 construction update, Groundwater Replenishment System website

Using Recycled Water in Wetlands: the Hemet/San Jacinto Constructed Wetlands

In an innovative, successful, and award-winning project in Riverside County, California, the Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) uses recycled water to create wetlands that have a variety of benefits for the community. The project is adjacent to EMWD's eleven million gallons per day San Jacinto Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility.

One to three million gallons per day of secondary level treated wastewater from the reclamation plant flows into the wetlands. Additional nutrient removal occurs as the water flows through the wetlands. The resulting high-level secondary treated recycled water then enters EMWD's recycled water distribution system and is used for agricultural irrigation by local farmers and habitat creation by the San Jacinto Wildlife Area.

One of the goals of the wetlands project was that it be multi-purpose. In addition to high-level wastewater treatment, the wetlands enhance the environment by creating an aquatic habitat used by over 120 species of migratory and resident birds. The extensive shoreline design of the wetlands helps to attract the birds.

The wetlands project began in 1991 with two half-acre plots of ground and now consists of 26 wet acres on a 50-acre parcel. The original bulrushes planted in the plots were eight to nine inches tall and grew to eight and nine feet in the recycled water. The bulrushes were then used as starter plants as the wetlands expanded in size over the years. The roots of the bulrushes clean the secondary level recycled water to a higher level before it is blended with recycled water from the reclamation plant.

Research on the effectiveness of the wetlands as well as other wetlands-related issues has been ongoing since the project began. Research organizations include the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the University of California, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, the U. S. Geologic Survey, the University of Colorado, and others.

San Diego County Project Clean Water Summit to Include Recycled Water

The County of San Diego will host its annual Clean Water Summit on June 30 at the University of San Diego. The program is titled San Diego County's Integrated Regional Water Management Plan, and will address the connections of water quality, water supply and habitat protection. Representatives from the San Diego County Water Authority will speak about diversifying the area's local water supply portfolio and the role that recycled water has in regional water management strategies. Speakers will also focus on various aspects of water quality, watersheds, storm water and other areas. The annual summit provides valuable information to the County leadership, both from the speakers and the dialogue with audience members after each presentation.

In the News

News Articles of Interest - a chronological compilation with links to articles, materials and information about recycled water and related topics. Recent additions include:

Be sure to visit these and other areas of our website

  • Speakers Bureau information - how to contact the Study team for a presentation, a list of completed presentations, and a downloadable flyer on the Speakers Bureau.