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Padre Dam receives conceptual approvals for water purification program

Padre Dam receives conceptual approvals for water purification program

Santee, Calif. — Padre Dam Municipal Water District received regulatory conceptual approvals for the East County Advanced Water Purification Program from the California State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water. Additionally, the State Water Resources Control Board awarded Padre Dam $116.2 million as part of the Proposition 1 (Prop 1) Water Recycling Funding Program.

The conceptual approval will allow the program to use either Lake Jennings and/or and the Santee Groundwater Basin as an environmental buffer in compliance with existing groundwater recharge regulations and draft regulations on surface water augmentation.  Padre Dam also received conceptual approval on the use of free chlorine disinfection process based on the successful performance of its demonstration project.

Padre Dam plans to use Prop 1 funds to construct Phase 1 of the East County Advanced Water Purification Facility.  The Prop 1 funding consists of $15 million in the form of grant funding and $101.2 million in the form of a low interest (1%) loan for a total of $116.2 million.  In 2014, California voters approved Prop 1, the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act. Prop 1 authorized funding for projects that help meet the long term water needs of the state including improving regional water self-reliance while reducing reliance on Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“We are very excited about the regulatory approvals. These approvals are significant steps in making this important water purification program a reality,” said Allen Carlisle, CEO and General Manager of Padre Dam. “East County will be creating a new, local, reliable and sustainable drinking water supply as soon as 2021.”

In 2015, Padre Dam built and operated an Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility to demonstrate free chlorine capabilities to state regulators. The performance of the demonstration facility was overseen by an independent advisory panel; water quality samples were taken daily and sent to independent laboratories for testing, proving that the purified water created from recycled water meets and exceeds Federal and State drinking water standards.

The demonstration facility treats recycled water from the Ray Stoyer Water Reclamation Facility using four advanced water purification steps – free chlorine disinfection, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and ultra violet/advanced oxidation, creating a water source so pure, it’s near distilled in quality. When the full-scale project is built the purified water would either be pumped into Lake Jennings or injected into the Santee groundwater basin before it is withdrawn and treated again prior to distribution as drinking water.

“The Prop 1 grant money, combined with other grant funding the program has received, provide necessary funding to move ahead with building the East County Advanced Water Purification Program. This program will ultimately produce up to 30 percent of East County’s drinking water and help reduce our reliance on imported water enhancing water reliability for all of East County,” added Carlisle.

The East County Advanced Water Purification Program is a partnership between Padre Dam, Helix Water District, the County of San Diego and the City of El Cajon. Padre Dam is currently the lead agency and the partner agencies express support for the Program through memorandums of understanding and funding for the continued planning and studies for the Program.

Visit www.eastcountyAWP.com for more information about the Advanced Water Purification Program and to tour the Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility.