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Wastewater Changes Course
Scott Huth | Del Mar City Manager

Pump Station at 21st Street. Photo Bill Morris.
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In 2016 Del Mar will be hooking up with Solana Beach to send its wastewater north to the San Elijo Water Reclamation Facility in Cardiff rather than sending it to San Diego for treatment and disposal through the Point Loma Wastewater Plant. The new hook up will save money all around for Del Mar, Solana Beach and other San Elijo Joint Powers Agency (SEJPA) cities including Encinitas and probably increase the production of recycled water in the region as well.

Click on image to enlarge.

Faced with federally required upgrades to the Point Loma Plant, Del Mar’s costs for wastewater treatment are expected to increase substantially, over $1 billion for the region, and Del Mar would be faced with paying its fair share. By contrast, the San Elijo plant is already functioning at the secondary treatment level and will not require the same type of infrastructure investment. By redirecting wastewater flow to this facility Del Mar is projected to save about $23,000 per year. Long-term, the savings could be more. Plus the San Elijo Plant produces recycled water that is used at the Fairgrounds and sold to other water agencies for irrigation making Del Mar a partner in the production of additional recycled

Since the San Elijo Facility is located in Cardiff, a new pipeline must be constructed to transport Del Mar’s wastewater there. Rather than a dedicated pipeline from Del Mar to Encinitas, Del Mar will partner with Solana Beach to share use of their sewer system moving Del Mar’s wastewater flow through Solana Beach to the San Elijo treatment plant. This is a win-win for Del Mar and Solana Beach saving Del Mar the cost of building and maintaining a dedicated pipeline and reducing Solana Beach’s cost to operate their system. The partnership with the SEJPA is also a win-win. By having Del Mar as a customer for wastewater treatment, Del Mar shares in the fixed cost of operating the plant, thus reducing costs for the JPA members.

The new pipe will be built from the 21st Street Pump Station along Camino Del Mar to Via de la Valle, connecting to Solana Beach’s system near Cedros Street. The expected cost of this new pipe is $1.2-$1.5 million. Part of the agreement with the SEJPA is a two-thirds reimbursement for the cost of the new pipeline, as an acknowledgement of the financial benefit to the SEJPA members as a result of Del Mar sending its flow to their facility. Del Mar will maintain its wastewater connection to San Diego for use on peak wastewater flow days, emergencies and to maintain the other lines.

The new partnership with SEJPA and Solana Beach is an example of Del Mar’s ongoing effort to think creatively and work collaboratively with others in the region to provide services as cost effectively as possible.



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