In the midst of exceptional drought conditions, a new, locally controlled, drought-proof water source for Silicon Valley is now on-line. On July 18, 2014, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, in partnership with the cities of San José and Santa Clara, celebrated the grand opening of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.
Located in northern San José off Zanker Road, the new purification center, owned and operated by Santa Clara Valley Water District, is already producing up to 8 million gallons a day of highly purified water. It is the largest facility of its kind in Northern California.
The $72 million project began construction in November of 2010. The new facility received $8.25 million from the federal American Recovery and Re-investment Act and $5.25 million from the California Department of Water Resources. The city of San José contributed $11 million toward the construction and provided a long-term lease for the land.
The new facility is using advanced technologies to purify water which has already undergone two levels of quality wastewater treatment, sourced from the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility (RWF). At the new purification center, the water goes through three additional high-tech processes—microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light.
Instead of going to the bay, this water will be distributed via the regional “purple pipe” recycled water system, delivered by South Bay Water Recycling (SBWR), a program within the RWF, and used for industrial cooling towers, golf courses and car washes, throughout San José, Milpitas and Santa Clara.
Recycled water has been used successfully in Santa Clara County for decades. Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Gilroy all produce recycled water from their wastewater facilities. SBWR will provide recycled water to the new 49er Levi’s Stadium.
Today, recycled water makes up about 5 percent of the county’s total water demands. By 2025, the water district hopes to double that number. The new purification center is one important step to reaching that goal.