El Cajon joins other entities in water purification effort

November 9, 2017 by  

Four separate entities in the San Diego area have joined together in an effort to diversify their sources of water. The plan includes converting wastewater from drains and toilets into drinking water.

The effort is being spearheaded by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, which is located in Santee. Joining with the district are San Diego County, the Helix Water District, and El Cajon. They will work together to build a water purification facility on-site in Santee. The goal of the cities is to have the new facility supply approximately 30% of East County’s drinking water by 2023.

Creating purified drinking water from recycled water is a four-step process. First, chlorine is removed from the water, then it is subjected to membrane filtration, followed by reverse osmosis, and finally, advanced oxidation. The final result is water that is almost as pristine as distilled water.

At present, Padre Dam converts about half its wastewater at an onsite plant, after which the water is used for irrigation, and to fill Santee Lakes. The rest is treated at a plant in Point Loma, then discharged into the Pacific Ocean.

The water being sent into the ocean is seen as a resource that could be recovered and used to supply San Diego, and East County in particular.

Projects like this impact thousands of people, so officials could work with a newsletter printing company to create a letter for residents explaining the project step by step.