EPA Honors Orange County, Calif., for Innovative Groundwater Management
Water district receives “Pisces” award for wastewater and drinking water projects
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is honoring the Orange County, Calif., Water District with its 2008 Clean Water State Revolving Fund “Pisces” award, which recognizes projects that advance clean and safe water through exceptional planning, management and financing.
“The EPA recognizes the Orange County Water District for its foresight and dedication in providing a locally controlled, drought-resistant water supply to serve over 500,000 residents,” said Alexis Strauss, director of the Water Division for the EPA’s Pacific Southwest region. “Projects such as this provide clean safe water at a cost lower than imported supplies without sacrificing water quality.”
"The Orange County Water District deserves recognition for their superior work in demonstrating an innovative approach to project implementation with groundwater replenishment," said Tam M. Doduc, chair, State Water Resources Control Board.
The Orange County Water District supplies water to more than 20 cities and water agencies, serving more than 2.3 million Orange County residents.
Thanks to a partnership with the Orange County Sanitation District, and the use of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation processes, the award-winning project treats clarified secondary effluent, which would have been discharged into the Pacific Ocean, into water exceeding all federal and state water regulations.
This processed water is pumped into injection wells and recharge basins, where the water naturally percolates into the ground and blends with Orange County’s other sources of groundwater.
In recognition of its pioneering work, the Orange County Water District has earned numerous awards, including the 2008 Stockholm Industry Water Award from the Stockholm International Water Institute, 2008 U.S. EPA Water Efficiency Leader Award, Water Agency of the Year from International Desalination Association, and Water Agency of the Year from WateReuse Association.
Nationally, the EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program has provided more that $63 billion dollars funding projects for wastewater treatment, nonpoint source pollution control, watershed and estuary management and energy and water sustainability projects.