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Reclamation facility planned to improve recycled water

May 01, 2014|By Bryce Alderton
  • Representatives from South Coast Water District, Laguna Beach City Council and the South Laguna Civic Assn. celebrate the opening of the Aliso Creek Water Reclamation Facility, which will treat urban runoff from Aliso Creek and turn it into recycled water with lower salinity levels. The recycled water can then be used to irrigate commercial properties such as golf courses.
Representatives from South Coast Water District, Laguna… (Steve Greyshock )

The South Coast Water District will soon be able to produce higher-quality recycled water to irrigate certain types of land, such as golf courses and hotel grounds, for its South Laguna and Dana Point clients.

City leaders and environmental stewards attended a dedication for the Aliso Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Aliso Canyon on April 24. The new structure is adjacent to the district's advanced wastewater treatment facility, which has produced recycled water for landscape irrigation since 1984.

The new reclamation facility will recover and treat urban runoff from Aliso Creek, which empties into the ocean at Aliso Beach Park, and blend it with recycled water from an existing treatment system to reduce the water's salinity.

District General Manager Andrew Brunhart called the expected benefits a "triple win."

"This facility will help reduce the volume of urban runoff that reaches the ocean," Brunhart told the crowd. "It will reduce the salinity of recycled water to create a more irrigation-friendly product, and the demand for potable water will be reduced."

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Recycled water is primarily used to irrigate golf courses, parks, school grounds, street medians and other commercial and public landscaped areas.

Former Laguna Beach Mayor Jane Egly thanked Mike Beanan, vice president of the preservationist group South Laguna Civic Assn., and current Councilwoman Toni Iseman for advocating for a facility that has been a decade in the making.

"This has been a long time coming," Egly told the crowd. "There was a point when I wasn't quite sure the water board was going to vote to do it. The board voted for a beautiful project. One of the brilliant parts is it's in the right place. We won't have to pump water up to it, or pump down."

The district has the capacity to treat 300,000 gallons of urban runoff per day from Aliso Creek as "level and flow permit," district spokeswoman Linda Homscheid said. A permit from the state Water Resources Control Board allows the district to pull water from the creek.

An intake pump sits submerged in the creek and has a fine mesh coating to prevent fish from entering and algae and debris from building up.

The water will be filtered several times to remove bacteria, viruses, antibiotics and insecticides.

The biggest change, Homscheid said, is the use of membrane technology, which separates solids, such as salts and minerals, from the liquid.

Creek water will travel through the pump-intake tube and be combined with treated wastewater.

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