The $2.5 million grant is part of a federal authorization of $20 million and thus represents a partial payment of promised federal support for the project.
"By continuing to support this project with federal funds, Congress is telling the people of Orange County to move forward on this very important project," said Irv Pickler, chairman of the Groundwater Replenishment System Joint Cooperative Committee.
The GWR System is a joint project of the Orange County Water District and Orange County Sanitation District. It will provide Orange County with a source of safe, pure water to serve up to 200,000 families each year. The System will take highly treated sewer water from the Orange County Sanitation District, currently sent to the ocean and purify it to near-distilled water quality through 100% microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection technologies. The water will be used to increase an existing underground water barrier, which helps prevent seawater from intruding into the groundwater basin and will also be naturally filtered into the underground storage basin by the Orange County Water District.
The GWR System will be located on the property of the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District in Fountain Valley, Calif. The System will provide up to 100,000 acre-feet of water for the north-central part of the county. An acre-foot is 326,000 gallons, or enough water for two families of four for one year.
Already, the GWR System has received $37 million from the State Water Bond, $700,000 from the California Energy Commission and has been appropriated $500,000 from the EPA and $1.5 million from the Bureau of Reclamation. Phase 1, which includes full design and construction of the treatment facilities, is proposed to go online early in 2006 and cost approximately $350 million. The effect of this project on residents' water bills in north and central Orange County will be only about the cost of two postage stamps per month.
For more information on the Groundwater Replenishment System, visit www.gwrsystem.com.
Orange County Water District is a special district that was created by the California State Legislature in 1933 to maintain and manage the groundwater basin under northern and central Orange County. OCWD's groundwater basin supplies 75% of the water needs in Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.
Orange County Sanitation District is the third largest wastewater treatment system west of the Mississippi River, serving 2.2 million residents in northern and central Orange County.
Source: Orange County Water District