San Diego, California, Gears Up To Build Pure Water Sewage Recycling System 

March 10, 2021

San Diego’s Pure Water sewage recycling system is ready for construction


San Diego, California is ready to build the Pure Water sewage recycling system. 

According to city officials, officials resolved litigation that delayed the project 18 months and increased its estimated cost to $5 billion, reported The San Diego Tribune.

The Pure Water sewage recycling system will recycle 83 million gallons of treated sewage into potable drinking water by 2035. The project consists of 10 projects in its Pure Water phase one, reported The San Diego Tribune.

Regulatory permits have been secured and construction bids are being opened and analyzed for the 10 projects. A large treatment facility is slated to open in 2025 near Miramar that will be connected to many miles of pipeline in the northern part of the city.

For phase two of Pure Water, a separate recycling facility near San Diego International Airport is slated to start operating in 2035.

The sewage treated at the phase one Miramar facility will be stored in Lake Miramar reservoir after the purification process. City officials must decide whether the sewage purified at the airport facility will be stored in Lake Murray or the San Vicente Reservoir, reported The San Diego Tribune.

According to an analysis of the projects, the 83 million gallons of recycled water per day Pure Water will produce will make up half San Diego’s water supply in 2045. The city is negotiating a deal to jointly construct a regional brine line with East County water agencies, which are building a separate sewage recycling facility near Lake Jennings, reported The San Diego Tribune. 

The cost of the system will be passed onto the city’s water and sewer ratepayers. According to city officials, without Pure Water, ratepayers would have to foot the bill to expand the Point Loma sewage treatment plant, which could be even more expensive.

Construction is set to begin this spring and online meetings will be hosted with all four community working groups in affected neighborhoods: Bay Park/Morena, Clairemont, Scripps Ranch/Miramar and University City.

One potential challenge is conflicts between the pipeline route and existing utility lines owned by San Diego Gas & Electric and AT&T. To mitigate this, the city adjusted the pipeline route where possible to avoid conflicts, but at least five conflicts remain on the proposed Morena pipeline route, according to The San Diego Tribune.

For phase two, city officials are ready to break ground on a demonstration facility west of the airport that will operate for at least one year as a precursor to a much larger sewage recycling plant nearby. The site for the larger sewage recycling plant has not been decided and phase two won’t be completed until 2035, added The San Diego Tribune.

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Cristina Tuser

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