Saturday, June 3, 2023

Government Newsom visits Carson to discuss drought response, including a proposed plant that will recycle wastewater

With California dealing with a severe drought – the early months of 2022 were the driest in the state’s history – officials are searching for sustainable, drought-proof solutions to the ongoing water crisis, which experts say could last for years to come. .

That’s why Governor Gavin Newsom stopped by Carson on Tuesday afternoon, May 17. Newsom visited the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, which operates Southern California’s Metropolitan Water District, to discuss the state’s efforts to address the crisis—namely, a proposed $3.4 billion water recycling facility that is nearing completion. but will produce up to 150 million gallons per day.

Newsom’s visit, he said, was to help publicize the project so that MWD could secure the funding needed to develop the facility. He also reiterated his pledge to spend $100 million on a statewide outreach campaign to encourage water conservation.

“There has never been a project like this in the history of the United States,” Newsom said during the visit. “This is an extremely important project for the future of the state.”

According to a recent report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 37 million people across the state — out of an estimated 39 million — currently live in an area affected by moderate to exceptional drought conditions.

“Scientists have formulated the challenge along these lines: Since (the year 800), we have not experienced consecutive drought years in the West Coast of the United States,” Newsom said. “We’re experiencing things we’ve never experienced — and that’s not unique to California. We have to do things differently.”

The proposed Regional Recycled Water Advanced Purification Center, a joint effort between the Metropolitan Water District and Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, will use new technology to recycle wastewater—even making it potable.

Presently the waste water is treated and dumped into the sea.

“Up until 10 years ago, it was too salty for recycling,” Robert Ferrante, general manager of LA Sanitation Districts, said of the project during a presentation to Carson City Council in mid-March. “But now, because of the technology that exists, we can reclaim that water.”

According to MWD, the technology, called “advanced purification,” uses membrane bioreactors and microorganisms to filter toxins from wastewater. Then, the water is treated through a reverse osmosis process that removes 99% of all impurities, including salt.

The water is treated for a third and final time with an advanced oxidation process – during which a powerful ultraviolet light removes any remaining viruses or trace chemical compounds.

“The facility uses both water treatment techniques employed and tested around the world for decades,” says MWD, “and to remove contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, viruses, bacteria and potentially harmful chemicals down to the microscopic level. Innovative processes, except only clean water. ”

A pilot version of the process is demonstrated on a much smaller scale at MWD’s Carson plant. Officials said the new project aims to expand that facility and eventually roll it out across the state.

Officials envision the initial proposed facility going into Carson, Ferrante said during a March city council meeting.

MWD officials have said that if completed, the project will provide a “drought-proof” supply of water that will be used to fill groundwater basins and for local supply of drinking water. Currently, most of the state’s water supply comes from the Colorado River and Sierra Nevada snowpack.

By stimulating billions of dollars in economic output during construction and operation of the project, the project will also spur economic growth, MWD officials say.

The agency said construction alone would generate $8.68 billion in total economic output and more than 47,100 jobs. Once completed, the facility will provide $88 million in annual labor income, 1,040 jobs, and $25.9 million in state and local taxes.

But the project still needs funding – and a lot of it. Estimated construction cost is $3.4 billion, with an estimated annual operating cost of $129 million.

Newsom said the reason for his visit to the plant was to highlight this new project in hopes of receiving funding for it – noting that representatives from MWD and LASAN “have been making the case for this project in Sacramento repeatedly. “

California’s water resilience portfolio includes 142 specific actions to tackle the water crisis, to which his office has dedicated $7.2 billion in general fund surplus money, as long as the state legislature approves this year’s budget.

But it doesn’t appear that Newsom’s office has set aside any funding specifically for an advanced water purification project—at least, not yet.

As it stands, the project is currently undergoing an environmental planning process that is expected to last until 2024. The facility should be operational by 2027 or 2028, Newsom said, with full-scale operations starting sometime around 2030 to 2032.

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World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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