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Posted on: August 2, 2018

US Bureau of Reclamation Grant Helps Fund Recycled Water Pilot Study

For Immediate Release

Contact: Melanie Mow Schumacher,  Special Projects-Communications Manager
Phone:  831-475-8501 x153

US Bureau of Reclamation Grant Helps Fund Recycled Water Pilot Study

Pilot testing at Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility studies tertiary membranes as part of Proposed Pure Water Soquel Project evaluation

Soquel, CA (August 2, 2018) – The Soquel Creek Water District (District), in collaboration with the City of Santa Cruz, is exploring and evaluating tertiary treatment technology as part of the District's proposed Pure Water Soquel Project. This small-scale tertiary treatment pilot plant, using ultrafiltration membranes, is on-site at the City of Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility. The proposed full-scale Pure Water Soquel Project involves potentially recycling approximately 25% of the secondary treated effluent that is currently being discharged out to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary from the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility, purifying it, and then using the purified water to replenish the Santa Cruz Mid-County groundwater basin (Basin) and to create a seawater barrier. The Basin has been classified by the State as critically overdrafted and is under mandate to be brought into sustainability by 2040. This pilot plant is partially funded by a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Title XVI Recycled Water Feasibility Planning Grant for $150,000, which the District received last year.

"We're really excited to see this pilot project in operation. It's helping us gain data and confirmation that we can design for and meet the water quality requirements for groundwater recharge using advanced purified water," said Ron Duncan, General Manager of the Soquel Creek Water District. "We're on track to help our area take a 'green-step' forward of being a waste-free community. Minimizing waste is not just about paper plates, straws, and plastic bags. It's time to recognize and prioritize that water is a resource that we can locally recycle and reuse, right here in our own backyard."

The pilot plant was designed and built by H2O Innovations and is being operated by Carollo Engineers Inc. and Soquel Creek Water District, in collaboration with the City of Santa Cruz Public Works Wastewater Treatment Facility staff. Underway since May 10 of this year, the pilot plant will run until August 15. During this period, staff is evaluating the response of different membranes, developing membrane cleaning strategies, monitoring and assessing filtered water quality, ascertaining maximum sustainable flux/flow rates, and determining the size of a plant needed to scale-up the process, among other key pieces of data. Ultrafiltration membranes are intended to remove particulates from the City's secondary-effluent treated water to produce tertiary-treated, recycled water. For the proposed full-scale Pure Water Soquel Project, this step would then be followed by reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation with ultraviolet light. Existing advanced purification facilities including Orange County Water District and West Basin Water District in Southern California, and the Silicon Valley Purification Facility and Pure Water Monterey facility more locally also utilize this similar technology for their water purification facilities.

The District has developed a Community Water Plan to protect our groundwater resources and ensure a reliable water supply. Pure Water Soquel is one of the four supply options currently under evaluation. The other three options include river water transfers, desalination, and stormwater capture.

As part of the District's evaluation of the proposed Pure Water Soquel project, a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was released for public review on June 29, 2018. The District is encouraging community members to review and comment on the Draft EIR during the 45-day comment period, June 29 through August 13, 2018. The Draft EIR and additional information about the proposed Pure Water Soquel project are available online. The Draft EIR is also available to view at the libraries listed on the website, or at the Soquel Creek Water District headquarters (5180 Soquel Drive, Soquel).

About Soquel Creek Water District

The Soquel Creek Water District is a nonprofit, local government agency that provides water resource management within its service area to deliver a safe and reliable supply of high-quality water to meet present and future needs in an environmentally sensitive and economically responsible way.

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