Monday, June 18 , 2018, 4:23 pm | Fair 69º


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Goleta Water District to Explore Options for Potable Recycled Water

Goleta plans to explore advanced treatment systems for recycling wastewater that would then be used for recharging groundwater basins or providing potable water directly to customers.

The Goleta Water District board of directors on Tuesday unanimously agreed to apply for a state grant to help fund a feasibility study, which will look into the different options for potable reuse.

The district is partnering with the Goleta Sanitary District, which runs the community's wastewater treatment plant, and has support from Heal the Ocean, Assistant General Manager David Matson said.

The treatment plant has a tertiary treatment capacity of 3 million gallons per day, but the Goleta Water District only uses a third of that for recycled water customers, with the rest discharged into the ocean, according to a district staff report.

Wastewater and storm water capture are two untapped local water sources and the district wants to be better prepared for the next drought, Matson said.

Another goal is to eliminate the ocean discharge.

Goleta isn’t considering an expansion of its current recycled water system, which is non-potable (not suitable for drinking) and requires a separate pipe distribution system.

“The infrastructure is tremendously expensive to extend,” Matson said.

“The cost of plumbing is prohibitive in many cases for people who are interested. And, of course, the regulatory environment is exceedingly arduous with respect to using non-potable water.”

Goleta has provided recycled, non-potable water since 1994 and sells about 1,000 acre-feet of it per year for landscaping purposes, which is about 7 percent of its normal water supplies.

Potable water reuse — getting wastewater to a good enough quality for sinks and showers — would require additional treatment technology that is similar to desalination facility methods, including membrane filtration and ultraviolet light treatment, Matson said.

Goleta depends on surface water and groundwater wells for its supply, and in October the district sourced the majority of its water from wells.

It was the first time in more than 30 years, and seven wells are pumping constantly, with four more in rehabilitation, Matson said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, district board members voted to apply for a grant through the State Water Resources Control Board, which could fund half of the feasibility study costs, up to $75,000. The application will be submitted by the end of the month, according to the district. 

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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