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Metropolitan Board Advances Major Recycled Water Project

The Metropolitan Water District begins planning for one of the largest  advanced water treatment plants in the world!

Southern California took a major step forward on the path to developing a new sustainable water source from purified wastewater. The Metropolitan Water District will begin environmental planning work on what would be one of the largest advanced water treatment plants in the world. This marks a significant milestone for the Regional Recycled Water Program, a partnership between Metropolitan and the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts to reuse wastewater currently sent to the ocean.

Metropolitan board Chairwoman Gloria D. Gray said. “We all recognize our growing duty to ensure Southern California has reliable water in the face of threats from climate change and earthquakes. This project builds that resilience.”

If fully realized, the project would take cleaned wastewater from the Sanitation Districts’ Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson and purify it using innovative treatment processes,producing up to 150 million gallons of water daily – the amount used by more than 500,000

The purified water would initially be used for groundwater replenishment and storage, and by industrial facilities. After additional treatment, it may later be delivered directly to Metropolitan’s existing water treatment plants and used for drinking water, after the state develops regulations for direct potable reuse.

Metropolitan will initiate the necessary environmental planning work, including a Program Environmental Impact Report, engineering and technical studies, and to continue public outreach. This work will cost about $30 million and take approximately three years.

The information produced will be critical to provide the board with the necessary information to make a fully informed decision in 2024 whether to build this project.

Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. “When combined with our investments to ensure the reliability of our imported supplies from the Colorado River and the northern Sierras, we can build water security for the region for generations to come.”

This marks Metropolitan’s latest investment in the Regional Recycled Water Program. Last year, Metropolitan launched a $17 million demonstration plant to test an innovative purification process that could be used in a full-scale plant. Though that process is based on proven technologies, it uses a new combination of treatment processes – starting with membrane bioreactors and followed by reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light and advanced oxidation– that could significantly increase efficiencies in treatment.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provide water for 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water supply.