City of Antioch breaks ground on historic, first desalination project in Delta 

Antioch City Council members and staff gather for the groundbreaking of the new Brackish Water Desalination Plant next to the Antioch Water Treatment Plant on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. Photo: City of Antioch

$110 million Brackish Water Desalination plant made possible by State and City partnership 

By Rolando Bonilla, Public Information Officer, City of Antioch

On Friday, Feb. 19, Antioch City Councilmembers and staff, along with state dignitaries, broke ground on the city’s new and historic Brackish Water Desalination Plant. At a price of $110 million, the project was made possible with $93 million in funding from the State, and $17 million from the City of Antioch.

It will be the first one in the entire California Delta and second in the Bay Area, in addition to the brackish water desalination plant built in Newark by the Alameda County Water District in 2003.

“Through this project, Antioch continues establishing itself as both a state and regional leader on environmental best practices,” said Mayor Lamar Thorpe. “I would like to thank Governor Newsom for California’s investment in making our Brackish Water Desalination Plant a reality. By working together, we exemplify the very best of our state and our city.”

It is a resiliency project that will mitigate the impacts of reduced fresh water flow and accomplish drought reliability improvements.  The use and redirection of fresh water upstream has reduced the pressure on and caused intrusion of saltwater from the ocean. Antioch’s intake pumps, located at the end of Fulton Shipyard Road, are at the lowest point on the river. The situation will only worsen should the Delta Conveyance project (tunnel) be built and redirect more fresh water from north of the Delta, south, near the Clifton Court Forebay. (See related articles here and here)

Once completed, Antioch will be firmly positioned to preserve its pre-1914 water rights and provide the City with a reliable source of drinking water for generations.

“Water is the most precious of resources,” said City Manager Ron Bernal. “This is not only important for Antioch but also others who can become part of this project in the future.”

The City could sell some of the water from the plant to industrial users and other agencies.

The Antioch Brackish Water Desalination Project will utilize existing infrastructure to the extent possible and construct new desalination facilities and associated infrastructure to improve the city’s water supply reliability and operational flexibility. Once constructed, the desalination facility, located at the existing water treatment plant at 401 Putnam Street, will provide for 6 million gallons per day (mgd) of capacity (producing up to 5,500-acre feet per year (ac-ft/yr).

The Antioch Brackish Water Desalination Project consists of the following components:

  •  New river intake pump station to replace the existing San Joaquin River intake pump station. The pump station will consist of three 8 mgd pumps (16 mgd firm capacity), each with a fish screen that meets the protective criteria of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Service.
  •  New 3,000-foot pipeline connecting the City’s existing raw water pipeline to the City’s Water Treatment Plant to allow a direct connection and maximize the use of existing infrastructure
  •  New 6 mgd desalination facility (reverse osmosis, post-treatment systems, chemical feed and storage facilities, brine conveyance facilities, and other associated non-process facilities).
  •  Approximately 4.3 miles of a new brine disposal pipeline to convey discharge brine to the Delta Diablo Wastewater Treatment Plant for disposal into the San Joaquin River through an existing outfall. Discharge of brine water into the San Joaquin River will result in minor local increases in salinities that are within the tolerance range of native species.

Antioch is located along the San Joaquin River where it meets and mixes with the Sacramento River at the entrance to the Delta in Northern California, just off of Highway 4 in Contra Costa County.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Antioch Council & staff Desal-Plant-Ground Breaking 021921

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