November 17, 2022 3:15 PM
by Constance Farrell
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Today, the City of Santa Monica and regional officials celebrated the opening of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project (SWIP), a first-of-its-kind wastewater and stormwater recycling facility that will produce 10% of the City’s annual water supply, reducing its reliance on imported water.
"Protecting our future is what the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Project is all about," said Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich. "By capturing and treating stormwater and wastewater we are protecting Santa Monica Bay and generating a new water stream to sustain the water needs of our community as drought conditions intensify. This project is a model for other cities in the state and we are grateful to the agencies who contributed to making it possible."
SWIP is a key project in the City of Santa Monica’s Sustainable Water Master Plan, which seeks in part to make the City more resilient to ongoing and worsening drought conditions. The facility, which was recently recognized by the American Public Works Association of Southern California and American Council of Engineering Companies of California, treats wastewater, stormwater, dry-weather runoff and brackish groundwater to use for irrigation, toilet flushing, and, significantly, to recharge local groundwater. Once state regulations permit, water from SWIP could be leveraged for local drinking water.
By capturing stormwater and runoff, SWIP will improve water quality in the Santa Monica Bay, diverting 100 million gallons of pollution annually. The project also:
- Includes upgrades to the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (Element 1), known as SMURRF, making it the first project in the State of California where treated stormwater is directly injected into the groundwater basin to recharge local groundwater supplies.
- Includes both a new 1.5-million-gallon stormwater harvesting tank (Element 2) and a new 1 million gallon per day advanced water treatment facility (Element 3).
- Has three elements that will work seamlessly together to convert stormwater and wastewater into purified water that will be used for irrigation, dual-plumbed buildings, and to recharge our local groundwater basin.
- Increases local water supplies to reduce the City's reliance on imported water supplies.
The total project cost is $96 million and state and county funding made the project possible, including:
- Metropolitan Water District of Southern California which contributed more than $19 million over 25 years to aid the City in producing local water supplies.
- The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works for $7.5 million through Measure W's Safe Clean Water Program.
- The State Water Resources Control Board for a $75 million clean water state revolving fund loan and $8.77 million through a Prop 1 Stormwater Grant.
The City worked closely with the Regional Water Quality Control Board to establish regulations for stormwater treatment and groundwater recharge. This work will be the model for other agencies in the future as the need only intensifies with dryer and dryer years.
Communications & Public Information Manager