January 28 – San Diego City Council Approves Next Phase of Water Recycling Plan

Coalition of community groups encouraged support of $3.28-million contract

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SAN DIEGO, CA –The San Diego City Council approved this week a $3.28-million contract for public outreach and program management to allow important community engagement and education on recycled wastewater for potable use. The public awareness campaign will seek to help residents understand the indirect potable reuse (IPR) pilot project currently underway in the City of San Diego. The two-year project, which is fully funded, will demonstrate whether highly treated wastewater can augment local reservoirs.

To encourage council members to vote in favor of the contract, Coastkeeper helped bring together the IPR Coalition, an unprecedented alliance of San Diego groups including San Diego County Taxpayers Association, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, BIOCOMM and other business, labor, economic growth and ratepayer advocates. The organizations aligned to highlight the importance of investing in local sources of drought-proof water supplies that will require less reliance on energy and increasingly expensive imported water.

“San Diego currently imports nearly 80 percent of its water from outside the region. Our overreliance on these sources has tremendous environmental and economic impacts on our region,” said Coastkeeper Executive Director Bruce Reznik. “Recycling wastewater into drinking water is a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to enhance our local water supplies.”

The demonstration project resulted from the City’s 2005 Water Reuse Study, which explored various options to maximize reuse at the City’s existing North City reclamation facility. If the demonstration project is successful, a full-scale project could ultimately provide up to 16 million gallons per day of advanced treated water from the North City plant to augment San Vincente Reservoir, a local source for drinking water.

The approved outreach campaign will help residents understand that IPR not only reduces the nearly 200 million gallons per day of wastewater that is currently dumped into the ocean, but will also be less expensive than current transfer methods and alternatives like desalination. Compared to conventional water treatment methods, IPR undergoes more stringent review and monitoring by the California Department of Health Services and other regulatory agencies. And due to the nature of the processing, it will be cleaner and safer than any water that is currently imported to our region.

For more information on IPR and San Diego’s water supply, visit Coastkeeper’s website at localhost/sdcoastkeeper.

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Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region’s bays, beaches, watersheds and ocean for the people and wildlife that depend on them. We balance community outreach, education, and advocacy to promote stewardship of clean water and a healthy coastal ecosystem.