Carlsbad expands recycled water production

CARLSBAD — The city is increasing its supply and access to recycled water throughout the city with the expansion of the Carlsbad Water Recycling Facility. 

According to David Ahles, the program manager of Carlsbad’s Phase III Recycled Water Project, which includes the facility expansion, there has been an increased demand for recycled water and that demand is expected to grow.

“What’s really driving it (the increased demand) is potable water rates are going up and recycled water rates are staying for the next two years,” he explained.

Recycled water is primarily used for landscaping and golf courses within the city. So with new housing developments on the horizon, including Quarry Creek, the demand for recycled water is anticipated to rise further, said Ahles.

Consequently, the city planned the expansion of the Carlsbad Recycling Facility, one of the three sources of recycled water within CMWD (Carlsbad Municipal Water District), as well as the construction of additional distribution pipeline.

Ahles explained that with the low cost incentive for property owners to use recycled water, the city needed to ensure that not only could it produce more recycled water but that it could also deliver that supply throughout the city.

CMWD distributes about 1.23 billion gallons of recycled water locally per year, according to city data. This makes up more than 16 percent of the total water distributed by the water district.

Currently the city has about 79 miles of distribution pipeline for recycled water, which supplies more than 500 sites, including Legoland and the Flower Fields.

The Carlsbad Water Recycling Facility expansion was authorized as part of the city’s most recent Recycled Water Master Plan, which was instituted in November. The expansion will double the facility’s capacity from 4 million gallons per day to 8 million gallons per day.

The construction of an additional 18 miles of distribution pipeline will establish 200 more recycled water service connections in Carlsbad, according to Ahles.

At its Oct. 8 meeting, the City Council unanimously approved a professional services agreement with consultant CH2M Hill, Inc., to complete the preliminary design of the water facility’s expansion.

The consultant was chosen over two other applicants and will complete the preliminary design for about $250,000.

The total expansion will cost an estimated $6.9 million, according to city figures.

While the city has $1.1 million in funds from the Water Replacement Fund, the remainder of the cost will be covered by a loan from the State Water Resources Control Board as well as state and federal grants, Ahles said.

The Carlsbad Recycled Water Facility was built in 2005 on Avenida Encinas and is operated by the Encina Wastewater Authority.

At the facility, water that has been used by homes or businesses is treated to remove solid waste and organic waste before being filtered through sand or charcoal and lastly, disinfected.

In addition to landscaping, recycled water is also used for cooling towers and industrial uses in Carlsbad.


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