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Pure Water Oceanside
With construction almost complete, Pure Water Oceanside is expected to begin purifying recycled wastewater into potable drinking water by the end of December. Photo by Samantha Nelson
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Pure Water Oceanside to start purifying recycled water by end of ’21

OCEANSIDE — By the end of December, the city will begin turning recycled water into drinkable water through its new, state-of-the-art water purification facility, the first of its kind in San Diego County.

The new water purification system, dubbed Pure Water Oceanside, uses ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and an advanced oxidation process to purify recycled wastewater. 

“It’s inspired by the natural water cycle and is the natural next step for recycling our precious water resource that we currently discharge into the ocean without tapping into its full potential,” said Oceanside Water Utilities Director Cari Dale, who has led the project.

The city has been working on Pure Water Oceanside for several years and finally broke ground for construction in February 2020. After nearly two years of construction, the new purification system located at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility is on track to begin purifying water just before the new year. 

Pure Water Oceanside is at first expected to provide about 32% — between 3-5 million gallons — of drinking water to the city’s water customers each day. The goal is to eventually provide up to 50% of the city’s drinking water supply by 2030.

Pure Water purification

The new water purification system will also recharge the region’s Mission Basin Aquifer, which Dale said will safeguard the area against drought, improve water quality and prevent saltwater intrusion into the aquifer.

The new system also helps to diversify the region’s water supply. Currently, the city imports the vast majority of its water supply from the Colorado River 250 miles away and the Sacramento Bay Delta 600 miles away. Pure Water Oceanside is expected to reduce the city’s dependence on imported water by more than 40%. 

With its start date approaching, Pure Water Oceanside will be the first water purification system of its kind in San Diego County. The city of San Diego is currently working on its own Pure Water project, and an advanced purification program led by the Padre Dam Municipal Water District is also underway in East County.

Orange County currently has the closest recycled water purification facility.

Pure Water Oceanside
Gabriele Schubert, vice president of the San Diego Regional Water Tech Alliance, and Denmark Consul General Morten Siem Lynge representing Water Tech Alliance of Denmark sign an agreement between the two alliances to share information about advancing water technology in Oceanside on Nov. 30. Photo by Samantha Nelson

Danish support

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the city of Oceanside got to show off its new water technology to a Danish delegation including officials from the Consulate General of Denmark, water utilities and technology experts during a networking event held at its reclamation facility. 

“The Oceanside Pure Water plant is world-famous and a brilliant example of what California cities are doing to optimize resiliency and to be prepared for growth and future challenges,” said Lea Wermelin, Minister for the Environment of Denmark.

Wermelin, Denmark’s Consul General Morten Siem Lynge and their teams have been traveling throughout the state of California and other southwest states visiting other sites with advanced water technology before resigning an agreement between Denmark and the state of California to share water technology and management on Dec.1 in Sacramento.

Just a day before that larger agreement was signed, a mirrored agreement between the San Diego Regional Water Tech Alliance and the Water Tech Alliance of Denmark, based out of the Consulate General of Denmark, was also signed at the San Luis Rey facility during the networking event.

The San Diego Regional Water Tech Alliance is a local nonprofit working to bring policymakers, utility companies, technology experts and local communities interested in the future of their water supplies together to advance water technology in the region.

Now, with the newly signed agreement, both the San Diego and the Denmark alliances can bounce information on water technology back and forth as well.

“We could learn a lot from you,” Consul General Morten Siem Lynge said. 

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