ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. --The Orange County Water District's (OCWD) Water Factory 21, the world famous pioneering water reclamation facility, has just won the California Water and Environment Association's (CWEA) prestigious "Plant of the Year Award" for 1997 for the Santa Ana River Groundwater Basin.
Water Factory 21 participated in the CWEA's, Santa Ana River Basin competition against other plants in Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties that produce more than 10 million gallons of water each day. The Award evaluates every aspect of running a large water facility including operations and maintenance, general appearance, safety, laboratory work, compliance with regulations, research and development, as well as staff training. OCWD's Water Factory 21 is now eligible for CWEA's California State Award competition in April 1998.
"This award demonstrates our continued commitment to quality, the dedication of our outstanding employees, and our ability to fulfill our mission of providing local groundwater producers and users with a reliable, adequate and high-quality water supply," said OCWD General Manager, William R. Mills Jr.
Orange County Water District's Water Factory 21, located in Fountain Valley was the worldwide prototype treatment facility for reuse of highly treated wastewater. Since it began operating in 1976, it has continuously met or exceeded the U.S. EPA's drinking water standards. Water Factory 21 also won this CWEA award in 1978 and 1983.
The purified reclaimed water produced by the Water Factory is treated using various advanced processes, including reverse osmosis. The water is then injected into the groundwater basin to create a freshwater barrier to prevent seawater intrusion, eventually becoming a part of the basin's groundwater supply. The water is also used by industry and for irrigation. The facility is so well known that each year it attracts more than 1,000 visiting water specialists, scientists, and leaders from more than 30 countries around the world.
The Orange County Water District is a special agency created by the California Legislature to maintain and manage the groundwater basin under the northern and central areas of Orange County. The groundwater basin that the district manages supplies approximately 75 percent of the water used by nearly two million Orange County residents.
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