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City Council To Take Key Vote On Water Recycling

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Aired 7/26/10

This week, San Diego City Council will take an important step toward safeguarding a clean supply of drinking water for city residents in the future. A $6-million contract would test the viability of purifying sewage water to meet safe drinking water standards.

This week, San Diego City Council will take an important step toward safeguarding a clean supply of drinking water for city residents in the future. A $6-million contract would test the viability of purifying sewage water to meet safe drinking water standards.

Orange County already does it, and the technology has been used in Virginia since the 1970s, but in San Diego the idea has met strong resistance.

Marsi Steirer of the city’s Water Department, says the council will vote tomorrow whether to award a contract to build the demonstration project.

“We know in Orange County that the water is very clean and it’s distilled water in the end,” Steirer said. “But we have different source water, so our regulators want us to run a facility like this to determine the viability of the technology.”

An independent, nonprofit policy group in San Diego, the Equinox Center, did a study on purifying sewer water to potable -- or drinkable -- levels.

Ann Tartre, who did the study, says the research concludes the technology is safe and economically preferable to other alternatives.

“What we found,” she said, “is that potable recycled water is less expensive to produce and distribute than desalinated water or non-potable recycled water, which is the water that is distributed through the purple pipe system.”

The cost of putting in a separate system of purple pipes for recycled water that is not purified to drinkable levels makes distribution prohibitively expensive. Much of the water the city already recycles is pumped through the Point Loma sewage treatment plant and out to sea.

The cost of this demonstration project is already in hand. City of San Diego ratepayers began paying for it in their rates last year.

However some members of the City Council remain skeptical. A committee that considered the issue earlier this month referred the matter to the full council without a recommendation.

Comments

Avatar for user 'GrokSurf'

GrokSurf | July 26, 2010 at 8:03 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Why does the news media cast this vote as if the question is whether there should be a demonstration project? The project was approved years ago, funding for it has been collected through a temporary rate increase, and this facility is simply part of implementing the project. Valid questions would be whether the bidding process was done correctly or whether the company is competent and financially solvent. Whether there should be a project is not properly part of the debate.

Are you being manipulated by the ongoing machinations of Councilmembers DeMaio and Lightner who were against the project from the beginning?

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