Wastewater project could create drought-proof drinking water for 500,000 Southern California homes

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In its effort to establish a new, drought-proof source of water that could serve a half-million Southern California homes, the Metropolitan Water District on Thursday, Oct. 10 unveiled a $17 million pilot plant that will bring wastewater to drinkable standards.

Water from the trial project in Carson will not be piped to customers – it will be put back with regularly treated wastewater and pumped into the ocean.

But it’s a key step toward construction of a working plant that would reduce the region’s dependence on imported water.

“Mother Nature doesn’t just give us water – she recycles the water,” said Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk. “We do it technologically.”

Napolitano, a longtime advocate for recycling water, was among a host of speakers at Thursday’s grand opening of the pilot plant. Some 300 water officials, elected officials and environmentalists attended.

Like a similar project in Orange County that already recycles enough wastewater to serve about 350,000 homes, the Carson project filtration system would use reverse osmosis as a key part of the purification process. As in Orange County, the resulting potable water would be used to recharge groundwater basins.