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First Pure Water Plant In San Diego County Breaks Ground In Oceanside

Photo by Erik Anderson

Ground was broken for Oceanside's new pure water treatment plant Feb. 19, 2020.

Oceanside will be the first municipality in San Diego County to bring a pure water facility on line.

The city’s utility director Cari Dale officially broke ground on the $71 million facility on Wednesday saying the plant will bolster the city’s drinking water supply.

City worker Sara Davis says the plant takes in recycled water, which is clean enough for lawns but not clean enough to drink.

“The recycled water goes through three more purification steps before it is injected back into our groundwater,” said Davis. “And we purify it again at our Mission Basin groundwater purification facility that’s just down the road before it goes out to residents and businesses.”

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

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The plant will add 3 million to 5 million gallons of water to the city’s supply every day. And that’s water the city won’t have to import.

Three things have happened to make this project possible.

“There are no new sources of fresh water,” said Sandy Kerl, general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority. ”No. 2 is that the economics of it now makes sense as part of the supply portfolio. And then No. 3, the regulatory environment is such that potable reuse can be done. It took many years to get the regulations through the state division of drinking water."

There are other North County water districts working on a similar plant and San Diego’s massive pure water project is also due to begin construction soon.

Correction: This story was changed to reflect that city officials broke ground for a new pure water facility. The facility is not yet open. San Diego County Water Authority General Manager Sandy Kerl's name was also corrected.

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Photo of Erik Anderson

Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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