Groundwater Replenishment System Receives Award of Excellence

April 23, 2003

The Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System, a new water project for Orange County, received the "2003 Award of Excellence" from the Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California, Orange County chapter (CELSOC).

The "Engineering Excellence Awards," presented annually by CELSOC, recognize exceptional projects, as well as the organizations and individuals who have helped bring them to fruition.

This is the third award the project has received, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2002 Environmental Achievement Award and the "1998 Planned Project of the Year" presented by the WateReuse Association of California. The Groundwater Replenishment System is being jointly planned and built by the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District.

The GWR System will produce water similar in quality to bottled water, by taking highly treated sewer water that is currently released into the ocean and purifying it through microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide advanced oxidation treatment.

The purified water will become part of a seawater barrier and be pumped through a 13-mile pipeline to percolation ponds in Anaheim where it will seep into deep aquifers and blend with Orange County's other sources of groundwater, following the same natural filtering path rainwater takes through the ground.

"We are extremely pleased to have the GWR System recognized by our peers for its technical superiority and ability to produce the highest quality water available," said Virginia Grebbien, general manager for the Orange County Water District.

Once completed in 2007, the GWR System will produce 72,000 acre-feet (or 23.4 billion gallons) of purified water annually -- enough water to serve 140,000 Orange County families.

The project will help meet future predicted water shortages in Orange County. It will also help reduce the mineral content of Orange County's groundwater and prevent ocean water from contaminating the large groundwater basin. Additionally, it will provide water during droughts, a reoccurring event in Southern California.

More information on the Groundwater Replenishment System is available at

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) manages and protects the large groundwater basin underlying north and central Orange County. OCWD is a special district, separate from the County of Orange or any city government. It was created by the California Legislature in 1933 to oversee Orange County's groundwater basin.

The groundwater basin supplies more than half of the water needs for 2.3 million residents in the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Costa Mesa, 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. To learn more about water logon to

The Orange County Sanitation District is responsible for safely collecting, treating and disposing wastewater. It is a special district, separate from the County of Orange or any city government, established under the State Health and Safety Code, to provide sewerage service to a specific geographic area.

The Orange County Sanitation District is governed by a 25-member board of directors comprised of representatives of each local sewering agency or cities within its 470-square-mile service area.

Source: Orange County Water District