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Augments use of precious imported drinking water supplies; maintains low rates
The California Water Resources Control Board earmarked $3.25 million in construction funding for the Long Beach Recycled Water System Expansion Project. For the second time this month, the Long Beach Water Department has learned it has been awarded State grant money, this time for its industry leading recycled water system expansion effort. The Department was awarded $3 million on April 12 from the California Department of Water Resources for its seawater desalination research and development activity. Both initiatives are part of a diverse water supply reliability portfolio aimed at keeping water supply reliability high and water rates low. The Department's recycled water system expansion, when complete, will more than double recycled water use in Long Beach from 4,000 acre-feet to 9,000 acre-feet annually, eventually meeting 12% of the city's total water demand. One acre-foot of water is approximately 326,000 gal.
Funding for recycled water projects is available through Proposition 50, the Water Quality, Supply and Safe Drinking Water Projects, Coastal Wetlands Purchase and Protection Act passed by California voters in 2002. Proposition 50 authorized the sale of $3.4 billion in general obligation bonds for a variety of water projects including coastal protection, the CALFED Bay Delta Program and integrated regional water management, among others. State Water Resources Control Board staff received 45 applications totaling approximately $127 million in funding assistance, but just 25 projects were selected to receive the $42 million made available for this cycle of funding.
"Continued expansion of our recycled water system will enable reductions in the amount of imported drinking water that's currently used for industrial and large irrigation operations," stated Helen Z. Hansen, President of the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners and the City of Long Beach's representative on the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board of Directors. "This project plays a critical role in our ability to maintain affordable water rates, which are currently among the lowest in Southern California."
Specifically, the grant will allow for the conveyance of recycled water to the southeast part of the City of Long Beach to completely replace over 960 acre-feet of precious potable water, currently used for industrial and irrigation operations. New customers in the southeast part of the city will include additional connections at California State University Long Beach, the Long Beach Unified School District, large commercial laundry facilities, and most significantly, the two large power generation plants operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and AES Southland Company, who together use nearly 570 acre-feet of potable water for industrial uses. Additionally, the extension of recycled water to the southeast part of the city brings recycled water closer to neighboring cities that currently have no access to recycled water.
The Long Beach Recycled Water System Expansion Project is being implemented in four main phases, to include the construction of 16 miles of pipeline and new pump stations, the construction of the Leo J. Vander Lans Treatment Facility and the conversion of potable water storage facilities to recycled water storage facilities. The project is intended to connect the recycled water system to new customers citywide, as well as increase the reliability of the distribution system through the completion of looped transmission corridors.
Among the most innovative aspects of the expansion project to date, are the use of 1,100 acre-feet of recycled water by THUMS Long Beach Company in the repressurization of offshore oil-bearing strata and the use of 3,900 acre-feet of recycled water to protect the city's groundwater supply from salt water intrusion at the Alamitos Hydraulic Barrier Project.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has approved 25 percent matching grants for all four phases of the Long Beach Recycled Water System Expansion Project, up to a total of $35 million. In addition, the Water Department has already received $13.4 million in Proposition 13 funding.
The city's recycled water is produced by the Long Beach Water Reclamation Plant (LBWRP), which is owned and operated by the Los Angeles County Sanitation District, located in the eastern portion of the City. LBWRP treats 20,000 acre-feet of water per year, or 18 million gallons per day (MGD), of collected wastewater to Title 22 requirements. The Long Beach Water Department has been providing recycled water to customers since 1980 and was among the first to do so in Southern California.
The Long Beach Water Department is an urban, Southern California water supply agency and leader in environmental stewardship and water conservation.