Coastal Commission Renews Point Loma Permit, Paves Way for Pure Water

Story Courtesy City of San Diego

The City's Pure Water San Diego Program is one step closer to reality with the California Coastal Commission's unanimous approval for a modified permit for the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (Point Loma).

Without the modified permit, converting Point Loma for secondary treatment capabilities would cost $1.8 billion. The City's commitment to reducing ocean discharges and implementing the Pure Water Program were factors in the Commission's decision to approve the modified permit.

With the comprehensive water recycling strategy provided by the Pure Water Program, ocean discharges will eventually be reduced by more than 50 percent and San Diego will produce a local drinking water supply equivalent to one-third of its future drinking water needs by 2035.

It's one of the major sustainability projects that support Mayor Faulconer's Climate Action Plan. The first phase of the Pure Water Program is expected to be completed by 2021 and will provide approximately 15 percent of the City's water supply needs.

Federal law requires all wastewater treatment plants to renew their discharge permits every five years. Since 1995, Point Loma has operated under a modified permit and avoided expensive and space-prohibitive modifications to the plant.

Support from Mayor Faulconer, local environmental groups and regional business advocacy organizations continue to be key to securing the permit approval.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to finalize the approval of the modified permit within the next month.

Jonathan Heller