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jjDistrict board votes to suspend EMV project

The Helix Water District board of directors today voted to suspend the El Monte Valley Mining, Reclamation, and Groundwater Recharge Project . The project halt is primarily due to a delay in the availability of advanced treated recycled water and increased project cost.

For the El Monte Valley Project, Padre Dam Municipal Water District would produce the advanced treated recycled water, which requires upgrade and expansion of their reclamation facility. Due to a revenue shortfall, Padre Dam has deferred these improvements for at least four years. Also, during the preparation of the draft Environmental Impact Report, as the project design and cost were further refined, the estimated cost of the advanced treated recycled water increased from $1,200/acre-foot to about $1,850/acre-foot. Before moving forward, the District needs to have more certainty regarding both available water and total project cost.

Helix Water District remains committed to finding new, locally controlled sources of water to reduce San Diego County's dependence on imported water and the District will continue to explore options for water reuse.

With the El Monte Valley Project, the advanced treated recycled water has to be percolated into a groundwater basin, extracted and blended with all of the other raw water supplies, and be treated again before it can be used as drinking water. This is an example of indirect potable reuse. The water industry is now analyzing the science and technology of direct potable reuse, to be able to blend advanced treated recycled water with other raw surface water supplies where water treatment plants are located downstream.

If, at some point in the future, the California Department of Public Health Title 22 regulations for advanced treated recycled water were changed to allow for direct potable reuse, the recycled water could potentially bypass the El Monte Valley and be placed directly into Lake Jennings. Advanced treated recycled water is higher quality than our imported water supplies. Pumping advanced treated recycled water directly to Lake Jennings will also eliminate the need for recharge facilities in the Valley and lower the project cost.

Helix Water District will actively seek legislative and/or regulatory revisions which would allow direct potable reuse by collaborating with agencies that have similar projects or water supply objectives.

The District will keep the public informed as it pursues other options to bring a new water supply to the region.

jjProject will provide a drought-proof source of water

elix Water District is pursuing a new, permanent water supply source by augmenting the water in the El Monte Valley underground basin with highly purified, recycled water, which will supply about 15 percent of the district’s total demand.

The El Monte Valley Mining, Reclamation, and Groundwater Recharge Project will use recycled water that has gone through standard tertiary treatment, plus additional microfiltration, 100 percent reverse osmosis, hydrogen peroxide, and ultraviolet treatment.

Additionally, this new water source will support habitat restoration along two-miles of the San Diego riverbed.


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County of San Diego Major Use Permit Application. (23 megabytes)

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El Monte Valley Mining, Reclamation and Groundwater Recharge Project