January 17, 2024
As the State Water Resources Control Board (State Board) gets set to accept plans for direct potable reuse (DPR) projects this year, a thirty-year history of water recycling and purification by the West Basin Municipal Water District (West Basin) provides an opportunity to make DPR projects a reality in the greater Los Angeles region. Through partnerships with local agencies who have the essential resources to pursue DPR, West Basin is poised to help expand the regional recycled water system in Southern California.
In December 2023, after a multiple year review process, the State Board approved regulations for purifying wastewater into drinking water, opening the door for California’s first DPR project.
“California’s long-awaited adoption of regulations for direct potable reuse is a game changer,” said West Basin Division IV Director and Board President Scott Houston. “The regulations provide a new tool for water managers as we confront climate change while making public health and safety a top priority. As a leader in potable reuse, West Basin looks forward to future regional collaborations to ensure our communities have a reliable and sustainable water supply.”
An innovator in water recycling in California since the early 1990s, West Basin is accomplished in recycling wastewater and purifying it into a drinking-water-quality supply. Today, West Basin’s recycled water program produces up to 40 million gallons a day of recycled water for irrigation, industrial, and seawater barrier purposes which also replenishes groundwater in the West Coast Basin. In total, the District has produced more than 250 billion gallons of sustainable recycled water to our communities.
Over the decades, West Basin has considered the evaluation of and potential for DPR for its service area. The District has substantially contributed to the regulatory process by participating in expert panels; and providing technical analysis of research papers, years of data and sampling to academia and other researchers, and input on the framework.
The District currently operates and maintains the West Basin Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility in El Segundo, Calif.; the Juanita Millender-McDonald Carson Regional Water Recycling Plant; the Chevron Nitrification Treatment Plant in El Segundo; the Torrance Refinery Water Recycling Plant; the Hyperion Secondary Effluent Pump Station in Playa del Rey and a distribution system of more than 100 miles.
West Basin’s water recycling program allows its dedicated customers, with more than 450 connections, to use less imported water, conserve drinking water, and improve ocean water quality by diverting treated wastewater from the Santa Monica Bay. Sign up for a facility tour and learn more at www.westbasin.org/recycledwater.