City wants large scale wastewater treatment plant

SAN DIEGO - San Diego water officials are not just relying on rainfall but are looking to a more long-term solution to avoid a water crisis.

The water that flows from your shower or toilet could one day be pure enough to pour into your glass and drink.

Cary Lowe and members of the city of San Diego's Water Policy Implementation Task Force recently released a report recommending the city go ahead with a proposed large scale wastewater recycling plant.

The facility would purify about 15 million gallons of wastewater a day. Basically, the water that ends up in your sewer will be rerouted to a big set of filters.

"Very high tech filters that are capable of cleaning this water to the point where it's almost, not quite, but almost drinking water," said Lowe.

The water would get treated one more time before it is safe to drink. It would be similar to what is already being done at the North City Water Reclamation Plant, but on a much larger scale.

Lowe says with the state cutting off water from its Northern California supply, combined with increasing costs of imported water, the time to act is now.

"Even if there wasn't a cost savings, we'd have to do it anyway because there's less new water to import," he said.

In addition to the new plant, city officials adopted several other recommendations by the task force, including making it easier for individuals to use greywater.

"People are beginning to look at doing smaller scale on-site water recycling for individual office buildings, shopping malls," said Lowe.

The city is also planning to reduce water usage by 20 percent by the end of the decade.

The new plant would cost nearly $370 million and could be up and running in the next 10 years.

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