Joint Powers Authority Formed to Govern East County Advanced Water Purification Program
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, appointed representatives from Padre Dam Municipal Water District, City of El Cajon and County of San Diego held the formation meeting of the East County Advanced Water Purification Joint Powers Authority (JPA) to serve as the governing body for the East County Advanced Water Purification project. The creation of the JPA marks a key milestone in moving forward the project that will create a new, local, sustainable and drought-proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify East San Diego County’s recycled water. In its initial action, the board elected Gary Kendrick, representing the City of El Cajon, to serve as chair of the JPA for the first year. Supervisor Dianne Jacob, representing the County of San Diego, was elected as vice chair. August Caires, representing Padre Dam, serves as the third member of the JPA Board.
“This is an epic day in East County because water is life and we are going to provide a new reliable source of water,” commented Gary Kendrick, JPA chair and El Cajon councilman. “I grew up in Santee and watched Santee Lakes being built and filled. We have come a long way since then and I believe that our children and our grandchildren will benefit from important water supply decisions we are making today.”
“The momentum for the East County Advanced Water Purification project continues to build with today’s formation meeting of the East County Joint Powers Authority and recent recognition from the EPA,” said Allen Carlisle, CEO/general manager of Padre Dam Municipal Water District. “The East County JPA is committed to creating a new, reliable source of drinking water for our residents and businesses, and we’re on track to realize our goal by 2025.”
The Joint Powers Agreement, which was approved by each of the participating agency’s governing bodies (Padre Dam, El Cajon and County of San Diego), is the document that formed the Joint Powers Authority, effective on Nov. 1, 2019.
“This is a red letter day for East County and for the future of our water supply. I look forward to the next year as this project moves forward and applaud the efforts of all parties. A lot of people have put in significant amounts work to get to this day and more work is ahead,” commented Dianne Jacob, JPA vice chair and county supervisor.
Bylaws adopted during the formation meeting allow Helix Water District to appoint a representative as an ex-officio, or non-voting, member of the JPA Board. Helix has been a partner in the East County Advanced Water Purification Program and will continue to be a key partner moving forward.
In one of its initial actions the JPA Board approved the release of the Request for Qualifications for Package 1 of the Project which consists of the water recycling facility, advanced water purification facility, visitors’ center, product water pump station, solids handling facilities and extended facility commissioning. The RFQ is expected to be released to the public on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 at www.eastcountyAWP.com.
Once complete, the $528 million program will generate up to 11.5 million gallons per day of new drinking water – approximately 30% of current drinking water demands for residents in East San Diego County. The project uses four advanced water purification steps to produce water that is near-distilled in quality.
After treatment, the purified water will be blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated again at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed as drinking water. In addition to providing a new local water supply, the program will eliminate the need to send most of East County’s wastewater to the City of San Diego’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it is currently treated and then discharged into the ocean.
Earlier in October, the East County Advanced Water Purification project was one of only 38 projects selected across 18 states by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to apply for loans totaling approximately $6 billion to help finance over $12 billion in water infrastructure investments and create almost 200,000 jobs.
Earlier in July, the program’s partner agencies – Padre Dam Municipal Water District, City of El Cajon, Helix Water District and the County of San Diego – approved a $9.4 million Interim Funding Agreement (IFA) to help fund program development costs through August 2020.
The East County Advanced Water Purification program is a regional water and wastewater solution. This program is a collaborative partnership between Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the County of San Diego, the City of El Cajon and Helix Water District. It will create a new, local, sustainable and drought proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify recycled water and diversify East County’s water supply while reducing our dependence on imported water. This Program will provide up to 30 % of East County’s drinking water demands while eliminating wastewater discharge into the Pacific Ocean. For more information about the East County Advanced Water Purification project, please visit http://eastcountyawp.com.