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City Council To Consider $3B Plan To Recycle Wastewater Into Drinking Water

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Photo by Pixi / Flickr

A glass of water, Aug. 26, 2010.

City Council To Consider $3B Plan To Recycle Wastewater Into Drinking Water

GUEST:

Erik Anderson, reporter, KPBS News

Transcript

The San Diego City Council is scheduled on Tuesday to consider certifying an environmental impact report for the city's nearly $3 billion plan to recycle wastewater into drinking water and approving the plan itself.

The environmental impact report received unanimous backing from the council's Environment Committee two weeks ago.

Supporters of the so-called "Pure Water San Diego" program say it will provide residents and businesses with a stable, local supply of potable water that won't be affected by drought or the uncertainties of future water imports. The product will be purified and mixed with water from traditional sources before it's delivered to customers.

A city staff report said city officials aim to begin delivering 30 million gallons of recycled water a day within five years.

By the time Pure Water is fully implemented in about two decades, it will create 83 million gallons of drinking water per day. That's 33 million gallons more than the output of the desalination plant that opened last year in Carlsbad.

The project would also require the construction of water reclamation facilities, the creation of pipelines to deliver the water to area reservoirs and a way to divert runoff to those new plants, according to a staff report. Diverting the runoff into recycling plants will have the side benefit of reducing discharges from the aging Point Loma Water Treatment Plant, staff said.

Staffers found 31 potential environmental impacts but said all could be mitigated.

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