EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) developed a water recycling system that makes five types of “designer” recycled waters for various needs from irrigation to refinery cooling towers, street cleaners to indirect drinking water.
West Basin’s five recycled waters include ultrapure water for high-pressure boiler feeds, purified water for low-pressure boiler feeds, cooling tower water, irrigation water, and indirect potable drinking water for seawater barriers that protect coastal Los Angeles groundwater from saltwater contamination. Barrier water also replenishes groundwater wells. According to West Basin, no other water agency in the world has such a unique and diverse array of sewer water for recycled water uses. Engineers, elected officials, and others visit from around the world to learn about West Basin’s sewer water recycling efforts.
West Basin launched its water recycling program in the mid-1990s following a statewide drought. To promote local water reliability, West Basin has invested more than $500 million dollars in the program, and has also invested in an ocean-water desalination program that uses the same technology — microfiltration and reverse osmosis.
The water recycling program provides environmental benefits in that 30 million (and eventually 70 million) gallons a day of sewer water and five tons of biosolids (eventually 10 tons) are no longer discharged each day into Santa Monica Bay. Each day, that amount of wastewater is redirected to West Basin’s water recycling facility for treatment and reuse. The biosolids are recycled daily into landfill covers and roadbed fill. West Basin’s solar panels contribute 10 percent of peak energy use for recycled water production.
West Basin’s recycling program serves parks, golf courses, office buildings, and others, recently producing its 100 billionth gallon of recycled water, and works with more than 300 customers, including Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, bp, Toyota, Honda, Home Depot Center, Marriott, and others.
Recycled water production is part of West Basin’s Water Reliability 2020 program to provide greater water reliability and help Metropolitan Water District of Southern California both meet Southern California’s future water needs and ease some of the strain on Northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta.