Santee, Calif., — Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s Board of Directors accepted the East County Advanced Water Purification Program study at its Feb. 3 board meeting. Additionally, the board authorized a contract for $3,497,500 with Kennedy/Jenks Consultants to provide as-needed engineering services for the program.

The study evaluated alternatives to recycle wastewater generated in East San Diego County to create a new water supply that is local, reliable, cost-effective and drought proof. The study was co-commissioned by Padre Dam, Helix Water District, City of El Cajon and the County of San Diego. The East County Study also was partially funded by a $75,000 grant from the State Water Resources Control Board.

The program will reduce the reliance on imported water and minimize the costs of wastewater treatment by significantly increasing the availability and use of recycled water in East County San Diego.

Padre Dam will continue to monitor the ongoing State Water Resources Control Board’s restrictions on locally created new water. The Padre Dam Board agreed with a request by Board Member Doug Wilson to reprioritize an early study to determine if the state imposed 8 percent maximum credit to new water supplies would still result in an economically viable project.

“Asking our customers to fund a drought proof new water supply only to be told that it can’t fully be used to mitigate future droughts when it is most needed is irrational,” commented Doug Wilson, Padre Dam board member.  

The program will treat all of the wastewater generated by Padre Dam, El Cajon and portions of East San Diego County by expanding Padre Dam’s Ray Stoyer Water Recycling Facility, purifying recycled water at the Advanced Water Purification facility and then injecting the purified water into the Santee Groundwater Basin or augmenting surface water at Lake Jennings. The water would then be withdrawn and treated again prior to being distributed as drinking water.

“Much of East County is 100 percent reliant on imported water.  This program will provide a new, local, uninterruptible source of water,” said Allen Carlisle, CEO and general manager of Padre Dam. “The Board’s approval to move forward with the program is an important first step to diversify East County’s water supply with a local, reliable source.”

In March 2015, Padre Dam opened an Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility which uses a four-step water purification process to treat recycled water using state-of-the-art technologies. Since opening, this pilot facility has produced approximately 100,000 gallons of purified water each day for testing purposes to ensure it meets the public health objectives to earn approval from the State Water Resources Control Board’s Division of Drinking Water. The water purified at the facility is not currently distributed as drinking water. Free tours of the demonstration facility are available to the public.

“The East County Advanced Water Purification Program could ultimately produce up to 30 percent of East County’s water supply,” added Carlisle.  “Additionally, it will provide Padre Dam and Helix water districts a new source of water that is safe, reliable, locally controlled and drought-proof.”

Visit www.PadreDam.org for more information about the District, the Advanced Water Purification Program and to tour the Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility.

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