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IRWD Capital Projects Support Five Decades of Regional Growth

Wastewater Treatment, Wells, Urban Runoff Management, it’s All Part of the Plan

Over the past 50 years, Irvine Ranch Water District has planned, constructed, operated and maintained an expanding and evolving water and sewage system. IRWD provides water, wastewater collection, recycled water and urban runoff management services to a population of 332,000 in Irvine, Tustin Ranch, Portola Hills, Foothill Ranch, Santa Ana Heights, Orange Park Acres and portions of Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Orange and unincorporated Orange County.

“The list of key IRWD projects built in recent years includes the Deep Aquifer Treatment System, the Irvine Desalter Project, the San Joaquin Reservoir Conversion and the Michelson Water Recycling Plant Expansion,” said IRWD General Manager Paul Cook.

The Deep Aquifer Treatment System came on-line in 2002. This facility purifies drinking water from deep within the Orange County Groundwater Basin. This process removes impurities and discoloration left from ancient vegetation in the aquifer and produces more than seven million gallons of drinking water each day.

The Irvine Desalter Project cleans, restores and makes use of an important part of the Groundwater Basin. This project, which went online in 2007, produces two new supplies of very high quality water and yields an additional 3,900-acre-feet of water -  enough for 1,300 acres of landscape annually. It also provides 5,100 acre-feet of drinking water – enough for 50,000 people per year.

The San Joaquin Reservoir, located in Newport Coast, was originally built to store drinking water in 1966. In response to new laws prohibiting the storage of drinking water in open reservoirs, IRWD converted the San Joaquin Reservoir to story recycled water in 2004. The reservoir now stores nearly one billion gallons of recycled water for future irrigation use, reducing the need for importing more expensive drinking water for irrigation and other recycled water uses.

The Michelson Water Recycling Plant was built in 1966 and is the District’s primary source of recycled water. The plant converts an average of 18 million gallons of wastewater each day to recycled water. Currently, the plant is undergoing an expansion. When completed in 2012, the plant will produce nearly 28 million gallons of recycled water per day. Recycled water comprises about 21 percent of the IRWD current supply, enough to provide landscape irrigation for 80 percent of the District’s business and community customers, including parks, school grounds and golf courses. Every gallon of recycled water used for irrigation saves a gallon of drinking water, an equation that helps keep IRWD water rates among the lowest in Orange County.

In addition to these large-scale projects, IRWD is addressing the needs of customers through the installation of several drinking and non-potable water wells throughout the IRWD service area. Likewise, ongoing construction projects like the Orange Park Acres Water System Improvements, and future projects such as the Newport Boulevard Water Line Relocation, the Baker Water Treatment Plant Project and the Main Street/Gillette Sewer Replacement will improve existing infrastructure to meet the District’s future water and sewer system needs.

Please visit our website to learn more about IRWD current and upcoming capital projects.

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