|Treatment Plants and the environment Water reclamation
The City of Los Angeles has long recognized that water is a limited and valuable commodity. Today, wastewater can be reclaimed for many uses that at one time could only be supplied by drinking water. Water conservation and water reclamation have now truly become a "way of life" in Los Angeles. The effort is full time and large scale.
Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater that meets or exceeds federal and state health and safety standards for landscape, golf course, and agricultural irrigation; commercial-industrial applications; discharge to rivers, lakes, and the ocean; and many other uses. The Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation has taken a key role in responding to the call for increased water reclamation. In fact, those efforts go back as far as 1976, when the Los Angeles-Glendale Water Reclamation Plant began treating wastewater to a very high quality and working cooperatively with users who wanted the valued, reclaimed product.
In the 70s and 80s, reclaimed water use was limited to relatively few locations; usually not far from where the water was produced. Growing public acceptance of reclaimed water for appropriate uses, regulatory approval, and evolving technologies have created tremendous growth in the number and types of users, and has allowed us to get closer to our reuse goals.
The City’s Donald C. Tillman and Los Angeles-Glendale Water Reclamation Plants and the Terminal Island Wastewater Treatment Plant/Advanced Water Treatment Plant have all set the standard for water reclamation in Los Angeles. The tertiary treated wastewater that is produced at Los Angeles-Glendale and Tillman is reclaimed for use at many San Fernando Valley locations. The composition of the effluent also meets or exceeds health and safety standards for discharge to the Los Angeles River and eventually the ocean. Benefits from a high quality river discharge include sustaining riparian habitats that are home to many plants and animals. The river also has the potential to be a focal point that would enhance many commercial and recreational uses along its path.
The City has recently installed one of the world’s most technologically advanced water reclamation treatment systems at the Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant in San Pedro. Tertiary treated wastewater is produced and then further treatment is applied using micro filtration and reverse osmosis. This facility is in full operation and is currently capable of producing as much as 5.0 MGD.
Beneficial uses planned for the reclaimed water include pumping into the seawater barrier in the Dominguez Gap, located near Long Beach, Wilmington and Carson. The barrier helps keep seawater away from drinking water supplies. The Department of Health Services requires that the injected water meet all Title 22 water quality standards for drinking water. Pilot studies show that the effluent from Terminal Island will meet these extremely high standards and will be suitable for pumping into underground basins.