NewsLocal News


Oceanside wastewater treatment plant preparing to open

Posted at 6:52 PM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-30 19:54:16-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (KGTV) - San Diego County has been planning ways to increase its sustainable water supply and one of the planned methods is through turning wastewater into potable water. There are three sites planned in the county and the first one, Pure Water Oceanside, is set to open before the end of 2021.

Pure Water Oceanside should begin operations mid-December and initially will help produce 30% of Oceanside’s water supply. The city has a goal of creating 50% of the water supply locally by 2030, and this facility will help make that happen.

Cari Dale, Water Utilities Director, said the $71 million dollar project took about seven years to create, which is fast for water infrastructure.

Dale said the water-cleaning process begins when wastewater enters the local treatment facility, then runs through treatment processes that remove particles.

“It consists of ultrafiltration, which removes particles 100 times smaller than a human hair, then it runs through reverse osmosis which removes things that are 300 times smaller than a human hair,” said Dale.

Next, the water is treated with a UV light, then is injected into a groundwater aquifer where it stays for three months. That process creates an environmental buffer. It’s later extracted and treated one more time before recirculating back into the water supply.

Dale said this is a sustainable process that will have a big impact on California’s water shortage.

“It is very reliable. We’re always going to have people using water and fishing their toilets and taking showers. And that’s our source of supply here so it’s great during the drought,” she said.

While the Oceanside facility will be the first to go online in San Diego County, it’s not the first in Southern California. Orange County uses a similar method.

“It’s currently being used in Orange County and Disneyland is using that water, so you probably already have been drinking it,” said Dale.

Simultaneously, the East County Advanced Water Purification project and the Pure Water San Diego project are also under construction. The East County AWP project would recycle 15 million gallons of annual wastewater. Pure Water San Diego is a $5 billion project designed to generate 83 million gallons of water per day by 2035.

These facilities will create a shift in where the county gets its water supply through the next few decades. Currently, the county does not create any potable water.

By 2045, the San Diego County Water Authority’s goal is to create 18% of the local supply from these potable reuse facilities. This will decrease the need for water from places like the Colorado River and Northern California, where supplies fluctuate based on weather patterns.