WSC and its south San Luis Obispo County regional partners recently celebrated a major milestone toward reliable water supply. More than 100 people attended a ribbon cutting celebration and grand opening of the Central Coast Blue Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility.

The demonstration facility is a key step for the Five Cities Community partners, including the cities of Pismo Beach, Grover Beach, and Arroyo Grande, and the Oceano Community Services District and South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District, toward the implementation of Central Coast Blue, an Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR) project that will create new source of water by utilizing advanced treatment to take water that would have been discharged into the ocean and put it to beneficial use through groundwater injection.

“The ribbon cutting of the Central Coast Blue demonstration facility was a significant event for our community. It represents what is possible when the right technology, innovation, and agency partnerships come together to enhance our water supplies,” said Benjamin Fine, Director of Public Works/City Engineer. “As our Program Manager and Design lead, WSC, has had an integral role in successfully leading this regional and public-private partnership and the development of a drought-resistant and sustainable, quality water supply for our community.”

The demonstration facility includes information about the treatment process, including educational videos, and visitors can even taste the purified water during the tour. As public officials shared at the ribbon cutting, the water “tastes great.” Once the full-scale Central Coast Blue facility is in operation, purified water will be injected into the Santa Maria Groundwater Basin, improving existing water supplies by 30 percent and reducing ocean discharge by 70 percent.

The demonstration facility, located at the City of Pismo Beach’s Wastewater Treatment Facility, will be in operation for one year to provide important results that will optimize future facility operations, including reducing energy and chemical use and costs.

WSC’s Program Manager, Dan Heimel, and President, Jeff Szytel, began providing leadership to Central Coast Blue during the study and planning stages and continued through program definition, stakeholder engagement, funding/financing assistance, facilitation of the public-private partnerships, groundwater basin model development, preliminary design, and implementation of the demonstration facility. We will continue to lead the project through design, construction, and start-up. WSC’s Strategic Planning and Communications team, led by Holly Tichenor, has facilitated the outreach, communications, and branding of Central Coast Blue.

The demonstration facility utilizes the latest in recycled water technology and is made possible through public-private partnerships, including lead supporter IDE Technologies. More than five technology firms have come together with WSC, Carollo Engineers, the Five Cities communities, and IDE to develop the demonstration facility to analyze new technology, optimize the design of the full-scale facility, and educate the public about Central Coast Blue.