San Diego IPR demo open to public tours

The public can now tour the City of San Diego’s Water Purification Demonstration Project, which is evaluating the feasibility of using advanced treatment technology to produce water that can be sent to San Vicente Reservoir and later distributed as potable water.

This demonstration-scale project at the North City Water Reclamation Plant will determine whether the city should proceed with a full-scale indirect potable reuse (IPR)/reservoir augmentation (RA) project.

In the past, importing water from the Colorado River and northern California has been a low-cost, reliable option, but environmental stresses and court-ordered pumping restrictions have continued to reduce the amount of water that can be delivered to San Diego. These circumstances and the threat of further limitations on the city’s water supplies have intensified the need for new sources of water.

The demonstration project will conclude in early 2013. During this time, the Advanced Water Purification Facility will be tested for approximately one year and will produce 1 MGD (3,785 m³/d) of purified water. A study of the San Vicente Reservoir is being conducted to test the key functions of RA and to determine the viability of a full-scale IPR project. No purified water will be sent to the reservoir during the demonstration phase.

Guides will lead walking tours through the facility and guests will see the advanced purification process that involves membrane filtration, reverse osmosis, and UV disinfection and advanced oxidation processes. At the end of the tour, guests will have a chance to compare the water with drinking water and recycled water samples.