Monterey County is the jewel of the California coast, known for its tourism appeal, picturesque coastline and inspiring novels like John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. It’s also known for its booming agricultural industry and is often referred to as the “salad bowl of the world,” feeding communities around the globe and providing a backbone for the local economy. Yielding that much produce, however, requires significant reliance on local water. That reliance results in harmful seawater intrusion, declining groundwater and habitat degradation.
In response to state-mandated action, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and Monterey One Water enlisted Kennedy Jenks to help make Pure Water Monterey, a $125 million integrated, state-of-the-art groundwater replenishment project, a reality. The Kennedy Jenks team provided design and engineering services, permitting and funding support, and facilitation with partner agencies and stakeholders from planning through project delivery.
Their efforts helped engineer a fast-track solution to the aggressive schedule, making it the first full-scale indirect potable reuse project in Northern California. Kennedy Jenks’ innovative solution utilizes four sources of water—municipal wastewater, agricultural irrigation return flow, agricultural produce wash wastewater and urban storm water runoff—that are treated at the M1W Regional Treatment Plant and secondary effluent is then treated through the Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF). The purified water mixes with local groundwater, creating a new 3,500 acre-feet source of clean, safe and sustainable water for the region.
“That aspect of the different source waters, combined with the treatment approach, is what makes this unique,” says Todd Reynolds, Water Treatment Community of Practice leader and Vice President at Kennedy Jenks. “This groundwater replenishment project captures and purifies waters that would otherwise be discharged to the ocean, and it provides a new source of drinking water to help diversify the area’s water supply and restore stream flows in the Carmel River.”
Through innovation and collaboration with public and private partners, the Kennedy Jenks team met the client’s tight deadline for design and construction in February 2020 and the AWPF has been providing purified water for groundwater recharge since March 2020. The team is going through the final start commissioning testing phase now and is currently training facility staff to operate the AWPF.
“A project of this complexity and magnitude requires teamwork and collaboration from a large group of talented and dedicated policy-makers, staff, consultants, and contractors,” says Reynolds. “The journey—from concept, through design, construction, and startup—is both challenging and rewarding. The result of our efforts is a new sustainable source of drinking water that will serve the community for decades to come.”