San Diego is accelerating construction of its landmark water recycling system and making other changes that will save money, benefit the environment and make pipeline construction less disruptive.
City officials plan to begin recycling 30 million gallons a day of sewage into drinking water by 2021, much quicker than a previous schedule calling for 15 million gallons daily by 2023 and 30 million gallons per day by 2027.
The faster schedule is possible primarily because officials have decided to do all of the recycling in Miramar instead of splitting it in half between Miramar and Otay Mesa.
Another factor in the acceleration was a recent decision to pump the water into the Lake Miramar reservoir 8 miles away instead of the larger San Vicente Reservoir 18 miles away, shortening the pipeline construction time line.
This change will save roughly $50 million and reduce neighborhood and traffic disruptions during pipeline construction, although it will create disruptions in parts of Miramar and Scripps Ranch that wouldn’t have happened under the old plan.
Officials have also decided to make the Miramar purification plant more environmentally friendly by using methane from the nearby Miramar landfill as its power source.
The move will simultaneously relieve regulatory pressure on the city’s Environmental Services Department to sharply reduce methane emissions from the large Miramar landfill.