Orange County Sanitation District

Orange County groundwater replenishment system receives $421,432 for saving energy


Source: Orange County Sanitation District

Orange County’s Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) System has been recognized with six awards totaling $421,432 for energy-saving strategies that were incorporated into the design of the GWR System. The Southern California Edison “Savings by Design” awards are granted to local businesses that incorporate smart, energy saving designs into long-term facility planning. The GWR System is a joint project of the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD). The awards were presented at the GWR System Steering Committee to representatives from both agencies for superlative design and creativity, environmental sensitivity, and innovative energy efficiency solutions in design of the GWR System Advanced Water Purification Facility. The new facility takes highly treated sewer water and purifies it through a three-step purification process that includes microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide, resulting in near-distilled quality water.

The facility produces enough water to meet the needs of 500,000 people in northern and central Orange County.

“Our engineers carefully planned design of the Groundwater Replenishment System to
incorporate environmentally responsible designs that would save resources and reduce energy
consumption,” said OCWD General Manager Michael Markus, P.E. “The system provides Orange
County with a new water supply and only uses half of the energy needed to move water from
Northern California to our region.”

Different process areas within the GWR System were awarded the Southern California Edison awards for being equipped with variable frequency drives (VFD) that allow energy levels to
adjust as needed during the water purification process. These areas included the microfiltration facility, reverse osmosis transfer pump station, reverse osmosis facility and the product water pump station.

In addition, the microfiltration facilities were placed nearly-two stories underground to allow for gravity to move the secondary treated affluent from OCSD to OCWD. This eliminated the need for an additional pump station, saving energy and millions of dollars in construction costs.

The GWR System became fully operational in January 2008. The state-of-the-art facility is
the world’s largest advanced water purification facility of its kind and serves as model for global water recycling projects.

Orange County Water District (OCWD) manages the large groundwater basin that underlies north-central Orange County that provides most of the water for more than 2.3 million citizens. OCWD is committed to enhancing Orange County’s groundwater quality and reliability in an environmentally friendly manner. With years of prudent planning and careful investment, OCWD has doubled the sustainable yield of the groundwater basin. OCWD is a
special district established by the California Sate legislature in 1933 and governed by a 10-member board of directors. Separate from the County of Orange, OCWD supplies water to residents in the cities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los
Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.

The Orange County Sanitation District is a public agency responsible for safely collecting and treating wastewater (sewage) for 2.5 million people. OCSD beneficially reuses and recycles the treated wastewater and other resources resulting from the treatment process. It is a special district established by the California Sate legislature and governed by a 25-member board of directors. The directors are comprised of elected representatives for each of the sewer agencies or cities within OCSD’s 471-square mile service area.

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