San Diego’s ambitious plan to recycle up to a third of wastewater for drinking won tentative approval Wednesday from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The approval came in the form of a new five-year permit for the city’s aging Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, which will not need to be upgraded because of the city’s recycling program.
“I am pleased the EPA recognizes that our city’s plan to create a sustainable, local water supply through water purification will also protect the ocean from pollutants and help San Diego continue to meet clean water standards,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.
“This is another validation of the Pure Water program, which will eventually reduce San Diego’s reliance on costly imported water,” he added. “That’s good news for San Diego families, businesses and ratepayers who want more local control over our water costs.”
The Pure Water project featured prominently in the permit application as a way the city can reduce ocean discharge without expensive upgrades to the Point Loma plant. Once fully operational, this innovative and ambitious water recycling project would provide 83 million gallons of water every day by 2035 — equal to one-third of the city’s entire water supply.
Without a permit from the EPA, the cost to modify the Point Loma plant to secondary treatment levels is estimated at $1.8 billion.
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