State announces funding for recycled water projects, including Pismo Beach study

Jun 16, 2015

The State Water Board announced Tuesday that is prepared to distribute $625 million for water recycling projects throughout the state, including a few projects located along the Central Coast.

Sewage water that has been treated to near-drinkable standards flows at San Luis Obispo's treatment facility.
Credit Randol White, KCBX News

The money would come from last year's Proposition 1.

The Central Coast projects include construction funding for a groundwater recharge project proposed by the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency and for a satellite plant at the public golf course in Pacific Grove. Also included is a grant to study recycled sewage water for use in the Five Cities area of San Luis Obispo County.

The Pismo Beach City Council approved that study back in April.

Mayor Shelly Higginbotham says the cities of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach have expressed interest in the project since they all share a common groundwater basin. Also, the Oceano Community Services District recently voted in favor of participating in a joint grant application for the project's planning phase.

Higginbotham says this water project is different than what some people consider when they think of recycled sewage.

"The difference between a quote 'toilet to tap' water recycling program is we're actually taking the effluent—we'll have injection wells—and we'll be injecting it back into the groundwater basin," said Higginbotham. "[The water] will have to filter for a period of time before it will be pumped out again."

Total cost for the project is estimated at $30 million and Higginbotham said, if everything goes well, it could be completed within three years.