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North County Students Get a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Water Reclamation

San Diego, CA—Over 80 fourth-grade students from Reidy Creek Elementary School visited Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility on May 17 to learn about the important services that special districts provide to their communities.

The San Diego Chapter of California Special Districts Association partnered with Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District, OMWD, and five other San Diego area special districts to offer a field trip grant that would cover the costs of transporting students to their choice of one of six special district destinations. The grant application process was coordinated by Rincon Water and funding for the grant was provided by CSDA San Diego Chapter to raise awareness of the important services that special districts provide in our community.

Ms. Barbara McCann at Reidy Creek Elementary School in Escondido wrote an essay requesting the grant on behalf of the entire fourth-grade class. The fourth-grade class has demonstrated their commitment to leadership and community service, and believed that visiting 4S WRF would be an excellent learning experience consistent with one of their core values to “Explore Opportunities.”

During the field trip, students learned what happens after water goes down the drain. They followed the journey of reclaimed water after it’s collected from the surrounding area and passes through each treatment stage before being sent into the recycled water distribution system. The recycled water produced at 4S WRF is then used to irrigate parks, schools, golf courses, and homeowner association common areas. Students also learned about the importance of using water efficiently and developing drought-resilient local water supplies, such as recycled water, given our region’s reliance on imported water from faraway sources and variable climatic conditions.

OMWD Board President Larry Watt and 4S WRF operators welcomed the fourth graders to the facility. President Watt remarked, “Our hope is that field trips like these help students, our future community leaders, appreciate the hard work that goes on behind the scenes that allows them to live with safe and reliable drinking water and wastewater services, and they go home and share this message with their families.”

OMWD operates the 4S WRFwhich can produce up to two million gallons of recycled water daily. In addition, OMWD procures recycled water for delivery throughout its service area from San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, Vallecitos Water District, City of San Diego, and Rancho Santa Fe Community Services District. In total, OMWD meets approximately 12 percent of its demand with recycled water, providing a local, renewable, and sustainable source of water supply.

Students viewing clarifier at 4S Ranch reclamation plant

Escondido Students Lean About Water Reclamation