Governor Newsom visits Carson to discuss drought response, including planned plant that would recycle sewage – Daily Breeze

As California faces a severe drought — the first few months of 2022 were the driest in state history — authorities have been seeking lasting, drought-tolerant solutions to the water crisis in course, which experts say could last for years to come.

That’s why Governor Gavin Newsom stopped by Carson on Tuesday afternoon, May 17. Newsom visited the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant, operated by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, to discuss the state’s efforts to address the crisis – namely, a planned Installation of $3.4 billion water recycling that would produce up to 150 million gallons per day if completed.

Newsom’s visit, he said, was to help raise awareness of the project so that MWD could secure the necessary funding to develop the facility. He also reiterated his pledge to spend $100 million on a statewide awareness campaign to encourage water conservation.

“There has never been a project like this in the history of the United States,” Newsom said during the visit. “This is a project that is deeply important to the future of the state.”

According to a recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 37 million people statewide — out of an estimated 39 million — currently live in an area affected by moderate to extreme drought conditions.

“Scientists framed the challenge this way: Since (AD 800), we have never had back-to-back dry years on the west coast of the United States like we have now,” Newsom said. “We’re going through things we’ve never been through — and it’s not unique to California. You have to do things differently.”

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom looks at a water sample as Rupam Soni, Community Relations, MWD, during a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, in California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Pool photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom during a visit to a Metropolitan...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom during a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Pool photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom during a visit to a Metropolitan...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom during a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Pool photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom receives water sample for...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom receives a water sample to be examined by Rupam Soni, Community Relations, MWD, during a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, LA California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Pool photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom during a visit to a Metropolitan...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom during a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Pool photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom during a visit to a Metropolitan...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom during a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Pool photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom during a visit to a Metropolitan...

    California Governor Gavin Newsom during a tour of a Metropolitan Water District water recycling demonstration facility in Carson, California. Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (Pool photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

The proposed Regional Advanced Recycled Water Purification Center, a joint effort between the Metropolitan Water District and Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, would use new technology to recycle wastewater, even making it safe to drink.

Wastewater is currently treated and discharged into the ocean.

“Until about 10 years ago, it was too salty to recycle,” Robert Ferrante, general manager of LA Health Districts, said of the project during a presentation to Carson City Council at the half-March. “But now, thanks to the technology that exists, we can recover this water.”

This technology, called “advanced purification,” uses membrane bioreactors and microorganisms to filter toxins from wastewater, according to the MWD. Then the water is treated through a reverse osmosis process which removes 99% of all impurities, including salt.

The water is treated a third and final time with an advanced oxidation process – during which powerful ultraviolet light removes any remaining viruses or trace chemicals.

“The facility utilizes both proven and tested water treatment technologies used around the world for decades,” explains MWD, “and innovative processes to remove contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, viruses, bacteria and potentially harmful chemicals down to the microscopic level, leaving only clean water.

A pilot version of the process is on display – on a much smaller scale – at MWD’s Carson factory. The goal of this new project, officials said, is to expand this facility and eventually replicate it across the state.

Officials are considering the proposed initial facility in Carson, Ferrante said at the March city council meeting.

If completed, the project will provide a “drought-proof” water supply that would be used to replenish groundwater basins and create a local drinking water supply, MWD officials said. Currently, most of the state’s water supplies come from the Colorado River and the Sierra Nevada snowpack.

The project would also fuel economic growth, MWD officials say, by stimulating billions of dollars in economic output during the construction and operation of the facility.

Construction alone would generate $8.68 billion in total economic output and more than 47,100 jobs, the agency said. When completed, the facility would provide $88 million in labor income, 1,040 jobs, and $25.9 million in state and local taxes per year.

But the project still needs funding – and lots of it. Estimated construction costs are $3.4 billion, with an expected annual operating cost of $129 million.

Newsom said the reason for his visit to the factory was to highlight this new project in hopes of securing funding for it – noting that representatives from MWD and LASAN “advocated for this project in Sacramento again and again and again”.

California’s Water Resilience Portfolio contains 142 specific actions to address the water crisis, for which his office has dedicated $7.2 billion in surplus from the general fund, as long as the California legislature state approves this year’s budget.

But it doesn’t appear that Newsom’s office has set aside funds specifically for the advanced water purification project — at least not yet.

As it stands, the project is currently undergoing an environmental planning process that is expected to last until 2024. The facility is expected to be operational by 2027 or 2028, Newsom said, with operations on a large scale starting around 2030 to 2032.

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