Rep. Scott Peters (left) and Mayor Kevin Faulconer at a press conference near the Pure Water construction site. Photo by Chris Jennewein

As site preparation begins for San Diego’s giant drinking water recycling facility in Miramar, Rep. Scott Peters and Mayor Kevin Faulconer on Tuesday celebrated passage of key enabling legislation in Congress.

The Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II allows San Diego to invest in the pioneering Pure Water facility instead of upgrading the aging Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The legislation passed in the House last week on a bipartisan 395-4 vote and now heads to the Senate in the waning days of the Trump administration. Peters said it has a good chance of final approval.

“Pure Water is all about planning for a sustainable future,” said Faulconer, noting that the plant — the largest public works project in San Diego’s history — is a “game changer” that will provide one-third of the city’s drinking water by 2035.

Peters said work on the plant dates back more than a decade, but initially faced skepticism as “toilet to tap” despite the fact that all “all water is recycled” in the environment. He said recycling wastewater for drinking instead of sending it to the Point Loma plant is better for the environment overall.

The city announced on Nov. 10 that a final legal challenge to the multi-billion-dollar plant had been settled and construction would proceed.

The Pure Water facility will ultimately produce 83 million gallons a day — almost twice the output of the desalination plant in Carlsbad.

A similar, smaller recycling plant is under construction in Oceanside, and one is under consideration in East County.

Site preparation near the North City Water Reclamation Plant in Miramar. Photo by Chris Jennewein
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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.