The project that will eventually transform wastewater into purified drinking water in San Diego is moving forward, with engineering and design concepts of the first phase about 60 percent complete.
Pure Water San Diego will provide one-third of San Diego’s water supply locally by 2035. Construction on the project is set to begin at the end of 2018.
The first phase will involve pipe line construction to move wastewater from a planned pump station in the Morena area to the North City Pure Water Facility in Miramar. The water will be then stored at the Lake Miramar Reservoir before it’s sent to the nearby Water Treatment plant. The water will then be blended with other imported water before making its way to taps.
“At the end of these processes, we’re coming up with purified water, nearly distilled water quality. It’s highly purified,” said Brent Eidson, External Affairs Deputy Director for the city’s Public Utilities Department.
Once the project goes on-line in 2018, it will mean a big change for water stored at Lake Miramar. It will be purified.
“This will be highly purified, safe and reliable water going in, already meeting state and federal drinking water status. We’re talking about high quality water,” said Eidson.
But members of San Diego’s fishing community have expressed concern over the impact purified water could have on the bass population at Lake Miramar. Eidson says the issue is still being studied.
And while there still may be a ‘toilet to tap’ stigma associated with treated wastewater, Eidson says a survey shows 73 percent of the region supports potable re-use. He says if you’ve ever been to Orange County, chances are you’ve had water treated the same way planned for San Diego.
“If you’ve been to Disneyland, if you’ve been to any of those amusement parks, you’ve already had this water,” said Eidson.
Right now, tours of the North City Pure Water Facility are available for the public to see the filtration process firsthand. In May, city officials will begin meeting with local community planning groups to update the Pure Water San Diego Project and address any concerns.
So far, Eidson says most of those concerns have not so much been about the water, but rather the impact construction connected to the project will have.