Santa Clara votes for advanced wastewater reuse plant

The directors of the Santa Clara Valley Water District in California, USA, approved two agreements with the City of San Jose on 23 February 2010 to build a new advanced water treatment facility involving microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection.

The plant will produce highly purified recycled water and strengthen the integrated management of recycled water.

The new facility will divert a portion of the treated water from the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant, and produce up to 8 MGD (30,000 m³/d) of highly purified water, of near-distilled water quality, which will be blended into existing recycled water flows providing for more uses. Currently, the South Bay Water Recycling program produces around 10 MGD (37,500 m³/d) of recycled water for irrigation and industrial uses.

The new blended water, with reduced salts, minerals and organics, could be used to irrigate a wider variety of landscapes, especially in poorly draining soils and is expected to attract new industrial customers for recycled water, who will find that the improved water quality can reduce cooling and manufacturing costs.

The design and construction would be funded by US$ 30 million from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, US$ 8.25 million in federal stimulus funds, US$ 3 million in state funding, and US$ 11 million from the City of San Jose. The facility will be designed to allow for potential expansion in the future.

Currently, recycled water meets nearly 5% of Santa Clara County water demands. The new facility would be owned by the water district, and built on lands owned by the City of San Jose, adjacent to the existing wastewater treatment facility. The two approved agreements provide a 40-year lease for the 5 acres (2.2 ha) of land needed and integrate the recycled water programs of the City of San Jose and the water district.

The San Jose City Council is expected to consider the agreements on 2 March 2010. If the agreements are approved by both entities, construction could start later this year and be completed by the summer of 2012.