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San Elijo’s water reclamation facility named ‘Plant of the Year’

ENCINITAS — The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority’s water reclamation facility near San Elijo Lagoon on Manchester Avenue in Encinitas was named “Plant of the Year” by the California Water Environment Association, the agency announced today.

The award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost-effectiveness and superior plant performance amongst wastewater agencies across California.

San Elijo’s medium-sized facility earned the accolade for its commitment to renovating aging infrastructure, collaborating with San Diego State University and utilizing student research, prioritizing staff development and integrating computer modeling into day-to-day operations, according to a recent release.

“What really impressed the judges about the San Elijo submittal was that they scored well in every category,” said Brian Peck, a delegate for the California Water Environment Association, on June 15 when presenting the award to the board of directors.

San Elijo serves Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and portions of Rancho Santa Fe and can process more than 5 million gallons per day of wastewater and stormwater.

The agency employs advanced treatment technology to produce recycled water for industrial uses and irrigation at golf courses, schools, parks, streets, greenbelts and the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

San Elijo delivers recycled water through several local partnerships, including Olivenhain Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Santa Fe Irrigation District and the City of Del Mar.

In addition to reducing the region’s reliance on imported water, recycling wastewater and urban runoff reduces ocean discharges and protects beach water quality.

“We are proud to provide a local, drought-resistant water supply to North County communities,” said Kristi Becker, San Elijo Chairwoman and a City Council member in Solana Beach.

San Elijo Joint Powers Authority
Overall site plan of the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority’s new water reclamation facility in Encinitas. Courtesy rendering

At the San Elijo Water Campus, the agency is nearing completion of a $47 million capital improvement program that includes upgraded treatment systems, a 0.6-megawatt solar system, a bike and pedestrian path to connect Birmingham Drive and Manchester Avenue and facilities to promote environmental stewardship, public education and collaborative research.

Completion of the second phase of construction is expected this fall. Learn more at www.sejpa.org.