By Craig Murray, P.E., General Manager, Carpinteria Sanitary District
2020 brings the start of a new decade and may also bring Carpinteria residents and businesses closer to having a new local, drought proof water supply. Exciting times!
The environmental impact report (EIR) for the Carpinteria Advanced Purification Project (CAPP) was certified by the Carpinteria Valley Water District in mid-December, marking another important milestone in the project’s journey, and positioning Carpinteria to join the many communities throughout California and across the United States that are using technologically-proven, industry-standard water purification processes to produce a sustainable supply of water to replenish stressed groundwater basins.
If you aren’t yet familiar with the project, CAPP will take water that has been fully treated at the Carpinteria Sanitary District’s Wastewater Treatment Plant and purify it in a newly-constructed Advanced Water Purification Facility using a multi-step advanced treatment process approved by the State of California Division of Drinking Water.
This purified water will then be delivered through a pipeline to injection wells for storage in the Carpinteria groundwater basin. Currently, CSD discharges over a million gallons of treated water to the Pacific Ocean each day. Capturing this valuable resource, purifying it and then injecting it into the groundwater basin for future domestic use, also known as “indirect potable reuse,” will supplement our local water supply in a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
When I talk to community members about this cutting-edge project, there is broad understanding of the need for a drought proof water supply. The concept of maximizing the use of our local resources in a sustainable manner is well supported. I do get a handful questions about the quality and safety of water purified through the advanced treatment process. Fortunately, we have an excellent model to follow right here in Southern California: Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System has been operating since January 2008—initially producing 70 million gallons of purified water per day and increasing to 100 million gallons per day in mid-2015. Their continuous testing and monitoring of the purified water has demonstrated the extremely high quality of the water produced by advanced treatment and that it contains no substances of concern.
They’ve also demonstrated that reverse osmosis—one of the technological processes CAPP will use—effectively removes PFAS, a category of contaminants that has been in the news of late. Like Orange County’s GWRS and other similar projects across the state, CAPP will closely monitor and test the purified water to continually make sure it is safe and of the highest quality before it becomes part of our groundwater supply.
The partnership between CVWD and CSD, with the support from the city of Carpinteria, continues to move this important project forward. While CVWD is completing efforts to secure funding, the project schedule calls for design to be completed later this year with project construction finished by 2023. Our collective highest priority before and after project completion will continue to be water quality and safety.
This is an important step forward for our community. We and our partners at CVWD would love to provide more information about CAPP. Visit the CAPP website at cvwd.net/CAPP to read the project fact sheet and other information about the project. We are also happy to make presentations to local groups—call CVWD or CSD to schedule a convenient time to learn more about CAPP.