U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials recently announced more than $182 million in federal funding that will be funneled to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout California.
The federal money goes into the California Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which provides low-interest loans to local water districts for projects that will reduce pollution, improve drinking water, and increase efficiency. As districts repay the loans, that money becomes available for new water projects.
The city of San Diego is in line to receive roughly $9 million in loans to help pay for a sewer pipeline rehabilitation project and a new Sorrento Mesa recycled water pipeline. The city also recently used loans from the program to upgrade its Metro Biosolids Center, which takes solids from area wastewater treatment plants and turns it into fertilizer for parks, gardens and agricultural crops.
Escondido, La Mesa, and the Valley Center Municipal Water District also have projects due to receive loans.
The Valley Center district would get $4 million toward expanding its Woods Valley Ranch Wastewater Treatment Plant. That project has already received almost $31 million in state revolving fund loans, said the water district’s General Manager Gary Arant.
The expansion is allowing the plant to offer sewer service to areas that otherwise would be on septic systems, he said. Recycled water from the plant will replace potable water now used to irrigate a nearby golf course and other areas, or piped into a new storage reservoir that’s also being built.
He said the sewer needs date back to the 1970s and the district had tried twice before to expand the treatment plant.
“This one was largely successful because of access to the state water revolving fund money,” Arant said. “It’s very rewarding to see it happen.”
The EPA chose the Carlsbad recycling plant for Wednesday’s announcement because it sets an example for water districts across the state, Blumenfeld said. The plant uses filtration, micro filtration and disinfection to clean wastewater and make it suitable for irrigation and industrial uses.
“This recycling facility shows the potential,” Blumenfeld said. “This is the kind of technology that we want to spread.”
Every gallon of recycled water means one less gallon of potable water that the city must buy, said Carlsbad Mayor Matt Hall. Recycled water also about one-quarter the cost of imported potable water.
“The city is proud to be a leader in the production of recycled water,” Hall said.