San Diego

Project to Turn Wastewater into Drinking Water to Begin Construction in Spring 2019

Construction will begin next spring for the first phase of a project to transform wastewater into purified drinking water in San Diego.

The San Diego City Council voted Thursday to move forward with the Pure Water San Diego project, which intends to provide one-third of San Diego's water supply by 2035.

The vote allows the city to award contracts for the first phase of the project, which will involve pipeline 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 then be stored at the Lake Miramar Reservoir before it’s sent to the nearby treatment plant. Next, the water will be blended with other imported water before making its way to taps.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the Pure Water Project is "one of the most important infrastructure projects in city history."

The cost to import to San Diego water from the Colorado River and the Northern California Bay Delta has tripled in the last 15 years, according to the city. 

San Diego City Council Member Scott Sherman said he voted against authorizing the mayor to award construction contracts for the first phase of the project because it was unfair to non-union construction workers.

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda is at Lake Miramar, where purified water will be stored, with more details on the project.

The city said contracts will be awarded to the lowest responsible and reliable bidders. 

Brent Edison, External Affairs Deputy Director for the city’s Public Utilities Department, told NBC 7 last year the water will be highly purified and completely safe for consumption. 

"If you’ve been to Disneyland, if you’ve been to any of those amusement parks, you’ve already had this water," said Eidson.

The first phase of the project will be built on city-owned land east of Interstate 805 north of Miramar Road. Click here to see maps of the pipeline routes and facilities. 

Residents who receive water from the Miramar Water Treatment Plant and the city of Del Mar will be the first to receive the potable water supply. 

The Pure Water Program is scheduled to open in 2021 and would replace the use of imported water by expanding the city's production up to 30 million gallons a day, according to the mayor's office. 

Treatment facilities are also planned for Central San Diego and South Bay. They are to be completed in phase two and three of the project and bring an additional 53 million gallons per day to the region. 

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