In summer 2011, the City of San Diego opened the Advanced Water Purification (AWP) Facility, a small-scale, state-of-the-art facility that purifies one MGD of recycled water. The facility is one component of the City’s Water Purification Demonstration Project that is examining the safety and cost of purifying recycled water. San Diego is examining water purification as a means to develop a locally controlled, supplemental water supply. San Diego’s semi-arid region is at the end of pipelines that bring imported water from hundreds of miles away. The City needs to develop local, reliable water sources to lessen its dependence on expensive and limited imported water supplies.
All wastewater in San Diego undergoes treatment to remove harmful contaminants, making it safe enough to be discharged into the ocean. Some wastewater is diverted to the City’s recycled water facilities, where it is further treated and then used for irrigation and industrial purposes. A portion of the recycled water produced at the North City Water Reclamation Plant is sent to the AWP Facility.
To become purified water, the recycled water undergoes a multi-barrier purification process, which includes membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation with ultraviolet disinfection and high-strength hydrogen peroxide. The multi-barrier approach of consecutive treatment steps removes or destroys all unwanted materials in the water and produces one of the purest supplies of water available anywhere. The same water purification process is already used around the world.
Visitors are encouraged to tour the City of San Diego’s AWP Facility.