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East County News Service

October 23, 2019 (San Diego) – San Diego Congressional members Scott Peters, Duncan Hunter and Susan Davis have introduced bipartisan federal legislation to simplify permit requirements to operate the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plan, with a goal of providing purified, recycled drinking water for the San Diego region and reducing ocean pollution.

The bill, H.R. 4611, the Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II, was introduced in the House on October 4, 2019.

“Water recycling is an innovative solution to help San Diego address our water security. This bill gives certainty to the future of the Pure Water project, which is poised to provide one-third of our region’s water supply, and will reduce discharge from the Point Loma plant. I look forward to an ongoing partnership with the San Diego delegation, the City of San Diego and other regional partners to deploy cost-effective technology to protect our region’s water sources,” said Rep. Peters.

“This has been in the works for a long time and I’m very pleased to see it finally introduced,” said Congressman Hunter.  “For decades, the San Diego region has been proactive in protecting itself against the historic water supply crisis in the western states.  This is another important part of that ongoing effort.  This bill achieves the dual goals of removing some federal bureaucracy while, at the same time, implementing a plan that will provide up to 83 million gallons per day of potable water.  This is a win all around.”

The City of San Diego’s Pure Water Program utilizes the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, which has been operation for almost 25 years, to perform water purification technology that transforms recycled wastewater into safe, high-quality drinking water. 

H.R. 4611 exempts the City of San Diego from filing a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) modified permit application as required by law as the use of the Point Loma facility meets federal “secondary treatment” regulations required for water discharge.  NPDES requirements are still fully met and this exemption prevents an expensive, time-consuming process from impeding a successful program that already provides the environmental protections federal regulations mandate.

When fully implemented, the Pure Water Program will produce 83 million gallons per day of potable water, one-third of the City of San Diego’s water demand, and will work in conjunction with other successful wastewater treatments programs in East San Diego County, specifically at the Padre Dam Municipal Water District.  H.R. 4611 has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee for consideration.

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