The Coast News Group
The Oceanside City Council approved the construction contract for Pure Water Oceanside, a project that will purify recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water on Dec. 18. Courtesy photo

Purification project gets nod in Oceanside

OCEANSIDE — On Dec. 18, the Oceanside City Council approved the construction contract for Pure Water Oceanside, a project that will purify recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound. In 2009, Oceanside’s City Council set a goal to have a 50-percent local water supply by 2030. Pure Water Oceanside allows the city to ensure it reaches that goal.

In its Dec. 18 action, the council approved three contracts which will construct the Pure Water Oceanside project, including an advanced water purification facility, a recycled water pump station and blending reservoir, and related improvements at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. A portion of the funding for the project will be paid for by a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan, issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Oceanside had been selected to apply for the loan, after submitting a letter of interest in the spring and undergoing a robust review process. The council also approved an action at its last meeting to submit applications for two separate WIFIA loans. The second loan will fund sewer improvements associated with the closure of the La Salina Wastewater Treatment Facility and to centralize wastewater treatment at the San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility. The combined projects will further optimize water reuse within the city.

“Pure Water Oceanside is a smart investment in our future and provides multiple benefits,” said Cari Dale, Water Utilities Director, City of Oceanside. “This project will create a local and sustainable water source for Oceanside, helping to solve a number of challenges including the reliance on and rising cost of imported water, the decline of our local aquifer and the threat of reoccurring drought.”

The contracts were awarded to Shimmick Construction for construction work; Parsons for construction management and inspection; and Tetra Tech for engineering construction support.

With construction for this phase of the project scheduled to be completed in 2022, Pure Water Oceanside will be the first operating advanced water purification project in San Diego County. Once finished, the project will provide more than 32 percent of Oceanside’s water supply, or 3 to 5 million gallons per day.

While a small portion of the city’s water supply comes from a naturally occurring underground aquifer called the Mission Basin, the aquifer’s use has declined over years of use. Pure Water Oceanside will address these challenges, diversifying the city’s water supply and reducing its reliance on imported water by 45 percent.

Pure Water Oceanside will purify recycled water using state-of-the-art technology that replicates and accelerate nature’s natural recycling process. The three purification steps are ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light advanced oxidization. First, filters remove bacteria and solids from reclaimed water, and then ultra-fine filters remove salt, viruses, bacteria and contaminants. Next, ultraviolet light and advanced oxidation neutralize any remaining substances.

Minerals are added before the water is injected into the Mission Basin, where it will blend with the naturally occurring groundwater and recharge the aquifer. The water is then extracted and treated again at the Mission Basin Groundwater Purification Facility and finally distributed to customers in the city.

The public can learn more about Pure Water Oceanside by visiting the city’s website and scheduling a behind-the-scenes tour. For more information, visit