Oceanside CA– The Oceanside Water Utilities Department’s San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility was recently honored by the California Water Environment Association (CWEA). In the San Diego section, San Luis Rey was named Plant of the Year in the medium-sized category. Statewide, the Facility took third place in the same category. Both awards recognized the department’s enhancements to the Facility to save energy and reduce costs.
Some of the Facility’s energy and cost-saving improvements include installation of a cogeneration plant that uses digester gas to provide power and hot water and the addition of a solar energy system. Combined, both systems provide power for approximately 60 percent of the electrical demand for the Facility. Also, by utilizing only one plant instead of two during the dry season, the Facility saved 20 percent in maintenance labor and 15 percent in operation labor. Additionally, the Facility staff changed operation of large motors and the time of day to switch equipment, which reduced power usage and resulted in the lowest electric bill in 10 years. Furthermore, over 25,000 square feet of grass was replaced with drought-tolerant landscape which reduced the department’s water consumption. Replacing the Facility’s grass with drought tolerant landscape provided a $25,755 rebate check from the San Diego Water Authority, a significant savings that gets passed down to ratepayers.