City Council committee backs environmental impact report for recycled water plan


SAN DIEGO – An environmental impact report on San Diego’s nearly $3 billion plan to recycle wastewater into drinking water received unanimous backing Wednesday from the City Council’s Environment Committee.

Supporters of the so-called “Pure Water San Diego” program say it will provide residents and businesses with a stable, local supply of potable water that won’t be affected by drought or the uncertainties of future imports. The product will be purified and mixed with water from traditional sources before it’s delivered to customers.

A city staff report said city officials aim to begin delivering 30 million gallons of recycled water a day within five years.

By the time Pure Water is fully implemented in about two decades, it will create 83 million gallons of drinking water per day. That’s 33 million gallons more than the output of the desalination plant that opened last year in Carlsbad.

The project would also require the construction of water reclamation facilities, the creation of pipelines to deliver the water to area reservoirs and a way to divert runoff to those new plants, according to a staff report. Diverting the runoff into recycling plants will have the side benefit of reducing discharges from the aging Point Loma Water Treatment Plant, staff said.

Staffers found 31 potential environmental impacts but said all could be mitigated.

The EIR still needs to be approved by the full City Council at an upcoming meeting.