Construction of Escondido’s $65 million Membrane Filtration Reverse Osmosis Facility for Agriculture (MFRO Facility) commenced recently, marking a milestone in the city’s goal of providing agriculture growers a high-quality irrigation supply and easing the burden on its wastewater infrastructure.
The MFRO Facility will treat a portion of the city’s existing Title 22 recycled water supply from the Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility through membrane filtration (MF) and reverse osmosis (RO) technologies. The MFRO product water will then blend with recycled water untreated by the MFRO process to produce up to four million gallons per day (MGD) of water with a salt concentration appropriate for agricultural irrigation.
A newly-built recycled water conveyance and distribution system will pipe the blended water to outlying parts of the city for beneficial use by Escondido’s local growers, mainly avocado orchards. The increased use of recycled water will in turn reduce secondary treated effluent discharges to the Pacific Ocean and ease the burden on Escondido’s outfall which is reaching capacity, saving an estimated $1 billion to upsize.
“This is an important milestone for Escondido’s recycled water system,” said Angela Morrow, the City of Escondido’s Deputy Director of Utilities. “The MFRO Facility will provide a reliable, affordable, and high-quality water supply to our agricultural community for generations to come, while beneficially reusing wastewater and reducing our reliance on imported water.”
Since summer 2019, a joint venture of Filanc and Brown and Caldwell has been providing engineering design, construction, and operational phase services for all aspects of the MFRO Facility, the first design-build project in the city’s history.
“We applaud the City of Escondido on successfully reaching this landmark milestone,” said Filanc Design-Build project manager Gary Silverman. “The JV is honored to collaborate with the city and their owner’s agent, Black & Veatch, through this historic progressive design-build recycled water project.”
Construction, startup, and commissioning of the MFRO Facility is scheduled for substantial completion by early 2023.