With California’s ongoing drought and the rising cost of imported water, Padre Dam Municipal Water District broke ground on its new Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Project. The project, funded through a $3 million Proposition 50 grant from the Department of Water Resources, will use advanced water purification technologies to potentially diversify East County’s water supply. It will provide a new source of water that is safe, reliable, locally controlled and drought-proof. The project is scheduled to begin operation in March 2015.

Padre Dam’s Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Project will take wastewater through four advanced water treatment steps: free chlorine disinfection, membrane filtration, reverse osmosis and ultra violet/advanced oxidation. The demonstration project will operate for at least one year. During this time, the project will produce approximately 100,000 gal of purified water per day. The water will be tested daily to ensure it meets the public health objectives for California Health Department approval.

If the demonstration project is successful and the project moves forward, the water would be injected into the Santee groundwater basin where it would be naturally filtered, then withdrawn and treated again prior to distribution as drinking water. The project would have the potential to provide up to 3 mgd.

Padre Dam is also working with Helix Water District, the city of El Cajon and the County of San Diego to study the feasibility of developing an expanded East County Advanced Water Purification Program. The study will focus on the possibility of expanding Padre Dam’s proposed Advanced Water Purification Project to accommodate and treat wastewater from the other agencies’ service areas in order to provide a recycled water supply for local and regional groundwater recharge, reservoir augmentation and other potable reuse opportunities. This expanded program could produce up to an additional 10 mgd.

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