GrokSurf's San Diego

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Posts Tagged ‘North City Water Reclamation Plant’

A photo tour of San Diego’s North City Water Reclamation Plant

Posted by George J Janczyn on June 15, 2010

If you live in a northern San Diego neighborhood and took a shower this morning, the water you washed down the drain probably ended up at this location within an hour or two.

“This location” is the North City Water Reclamation Plant (NCWRP), a large-scale state-of-the-art facility that can treat up to 30 million gallons of wastewater per day.

NCWRP is located at the northeast corner of I-805 and Miramar Road but the grounds are camouflaged behind high slopes with landscaping and the only entrance is from Eastgate Mall on the opposite side of the property. Drivers passing on Miramar Road or the freeway are unlikely to even notice it unless they already know about it.

The plant treats wastewater to tertiary standards, meaning that the treated water is clean enough for irrigation, landscaping and industrial use.

A portion of the plant’s grounds will soon see new construction on an even more advanced water treatment facility. The new facility will be used for the City’s Water Purification Demonstration Project, a scientific study to evaluate the feasibility of purifying reclaimed tertiary water to a state that is as clean or cleaner than the raw untreated water the city now imports from the Colorado River and Northern California.

If the study proves successful, the City will propose blending the purified reclaimed water with the imported raw water and storing it in the soon-to-be enlarged San Vicente Reservoir. The water would then be aged in the reservoir to allow natural conditioning processes to work. Finally, as is now the case, the reservoir water would be piped to one of the city’s water treatment plants where it would be processed into drinking water ready for distribution to customers. Also, the Helix Water District is working on its own El Monte Valley Project that will use IPR water to recharge groundwater that it uses for its service area in La Mesa, El Cajon, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and unincorporated areas near El Cajon. The source of the highly advanced treated water for this project may also be the City of San Diego’s North City Water Reclamation Plant or else the Santee Water Recycling Facility which presently supplies water for the Santee Lakes.

One term used for this treatment process is Indirect Potable Reuse, or IPR. It’s sometimes called “planned indirect potable reuse” because in reality the Colorado River contains treated wastewater from Las Vegas and other communities on the river, so we already do unplanned indirect potable reuse for our drinking water.

I recently joined a group of UCSD students for a guided tour of the reclamation plant. Brian Drummy, Senior Public Information Officer for the Metropolitan Wastewater Department, provided a very interesting guided tour of the facilities. He kindly supplied the captions for these photos as well. Thanks Brian! And by the way, about that shower water arrival time…that was only my guess as I couldn’t find out how fast wastewater really travels through the system.

(click any thumbnail for enlargement)

Wastewater is sent through this bar screen system, which gathers and removes large debris.

Plant’s control room, where all of the plant’s processes are monitored.

Primary clarifier, where heavy particles sink to the bottom of the tank and are removed.

Pumps, pipes and tanks within the odor control building.

Top of the aeration tanks, where wastewater is mixed with bacteria that helps decompose organic pollutants.

Secondary clarifier, where organic solids sink to the bottom of the tank and are separated from the treated wastewater.

Secondary clarifier, showing the exit channels for the wastewater.

Exit channels in the secondary clarifier.

EDR (Electro Dialysis Reversal) area of the plant, where portions of the reclaimed water receive additional treatment for removal of dissolved solids.

EDR (Electro Dialysis Reversal) area

EDR (Electro Dialysis Reversal) area

Chlorine contact basin where recycled water is treated with chlorine to kill any remaining bacteria.


Posted in Indirect potable reuse, Technology, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

City Council to vote on recycled water pipeline

Posted by George J Janczyn on February 21, 2010

North City Water Reclamation Plant

[Feb 24 update: The resolution was approved as part of a package of consent items during the meeting, which usually means no major objections were anticipated]

The San Diego City Council will vote on Tuesday whether to adopt a resolution approving the plans and specifications for the Carmel Valley Recycled Water Pipeline Construction Project and to authorize advertising for bids on a construction contract. Up to $4,730,000 would be approved to pay for the project (see City Council Docket Item 100).

The pipeline will consist of approximately 10,000 linear feet of 8-inch to 12-inch diameter pipeline to provide an extension to serve recycled water from the North City Water Reclamation Plant to the Meadows Del Mar Golf Course, Palacio Del Mar Home Owners Association and future customers in the western portion of Carmel Valley.

The project is to assist the City in carrying out Phase II of the 2000 Water Reclamation Master Plan which states the City will attempt to achieve the beneficial use of 50% of treated wastewater by the year 2010. That goal was related to the City’s EPA waiver from having to provide secondary treatment at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, the latest which was just renewed last October. That waiver committed San Diego to treat 45 MGD of wastewater by 2010 (note there’s a difference between ‘treated’ and ‘used’).

According to the 2005 Recycled Water Master Plan Update, the goal was to reuse at least 12 million gallons per day of water from the North City Water Reclamation Plant (the plant treats about 22.5 MGD, with the excess sent to Point Loma for disposal at sea). At the time of the 2005 update, the actual amount reused amounted to only 6 MGD. I haven’t learned what the current usage for 2010 is, but according to the 2005 Update, if implemented as described, the phased system expansions outlined in the reclamation plan would allow the City to meet the 12 MGD water reuse goal by 2010. Toward that end, the proposed pipeline project is estimated to supply approximately 300 acre feet of recycled water per year according to the city council docket (1 acre foot = 325851 gallons).

Supporting documentation for the Council agenda item: Inviting Bids for Carmel Valley Recycled Water Pipeline Construction Project (Carmel Valley Community Area. District 1.)

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