This summer marks two years since the grand opening of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center (SVAWPC) which produces up to 8 million gallons per day (MGD) and opened to public tours in July 2014. In those two years, a lot has been accomplished.

Since the facility opened, more than 3 billion gallons of highly purified water have been produced to enhance and improve the quality of recycled water throughout the county for uses such as irrigation, cooling towers and other industrial purposes.

The source of the water is wastewater which has already been through two levels of treatment at the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. The quality of water is very similar to “river water” when it first arrives at the advanced purification center where it then undergoes three advanced water purification processes: microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light disinfection. These three multi-barrier steps ensure that final product water comes out as purified water of the highest quality.

In fact, the purified water produced here is so clean that is safe enough to drink because it meets all California Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Quality Standards. Although the water is currently not used for potable (drinking) purposes, the water district has plans to produce up to 45,000 acre-feet per year (AFY) of highly purified water for potable reuse by the year 2025. This would most likely be accomplished through replenishment of the groundwater basin with purified water that is later pumped out of the ground and used for potable purposes much like Orange County’s Groundwater Replenishment System.

Since the opening of the facility, several other big accomplishments have been made:

  • We held a Grand Opening in July 2014 with over 200 elected officials, community leaders and news media.
  • More than 900 members of the public toured the facility at a Community Open House in October 2015. Visitors got the chance to taste samples of purified water.
  • To date, we’ve provided more than 200 public and private tours to over 4,000 visitors of all ages who learned firsthand how these advanced technologies can replicate the natural water cycle, only faster!
  • We’ve received close to 500 supporter cards in support of expanding purified water for other beneficial uses such as recharging our groundwater basins to augment our water supplies.
  • We completed a Potable Reuse Demonstration Test Plan which tested for reliability and validity of water quality and operational systems. As part of long-term testing, we performed a quarterly analysis of water quality for over one year, representing 284 constituents tested, including contaminants of emerging concern and pharmaceuticals. The final results show an exceptional level of pathogen and pollutant removal. The water we are producing is meeting strict water quality standards for potable reuse.

The water district’s plans to expand purified water as a sustainable water source for the future would translate into 14.7 billion gallons a year of fresh new water that’s both locally controlled and drought-proof. That’s enough water to serve 130,000 households each year in Silicon Valley that we would not otherwise have.

To take a FREE public tour of the facility, visit www.purewaterSV.org.

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Written by Marta Lugo

Sr. Public Information Representative at Santa Clara Water Valley Water District

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