San Elijo Water Campus named ‘Plant of the Year’ in California

Construction of the new operations and administration building at the San Elijo Water Campus.
Construction of the new operations and administration building at the San Elijo Water Campus.
(Photo courtesy of San Elijo Joint Powers Authority


The San Elijo Joint Powers Authority (San Elijo) has received a prestigious Plant of the Year award from the California Water Environment Association for its Water Campus on Manchester Avenue, according to a news release. San Elijo won the recognition first at the regional level before being named top among medium-sized wastewater agencies throughout the state of California.

The Plant of the Year award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost effectiveness, and superior plant performance.

“What really impressed the judges about the San Elijo submittal was that they scored well in every category,” Brian Peck, a delegate for the Association, said June 15 when presenting the award to the board of directors.

San Elijo earned the accolade for its commitment to renovating aging infrastructure, collaborating with San Diego State University and utilizing student research, prioritizing staff development, and integrating computer modeling into day-to-day operations.

“I understand the challenges of trying to sustain continuous improvement in all facets of operation,” Peck said.

San Elijo serves Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar and portions of Rancho Santa Fe and can process more than 5 million gallons per day of wastewater and stormwater. The agency employs advanced treatment technology to produce recycled water for industrial uses and irrigation at golf courses, schools, parks, streets, greenbelts, and the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

San Elijo delivers recycled water to end customers through cooperative partnerships with Olivenhain Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Santa Fe Irrigation District, and the City of Del Mar. In addition to reducing the region’s reliance on imported water, recycling wastewater and urban runoff reduces ocean discharges and protects beach water quality.

“We are proud to provide a local, drought-resistant water supply to North County communities,” said Kristi Becker, San Elijo chairwoman and a City Council member in Solana Beach.

At the San Elijo Water Campus, the agency is nearing completion of a $47 million capital improvement program that includes upgraded treatment systems, a 0.6-megawatt solar system, a bike and pedestrian path to connect Birmingham Drive and Manchester Avenue, and facilities to promote environmental stewardship, public education, and collaborative research. Completion of the second phase of construction is expected this fall.

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