Pioneering work to develop the world’s largest water purification plant for groundwater recharge has earned the Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District, California, the 2008 Stockholm Industry Water Award. The award will be presented on Aug. 21 during the 2008 World Water Week in Stockholm.The Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District jointly developed the Groundwater Replenishment (GWR) system, a water purification system which will provide enough water to meet the needs of the area without diminishing groundwater resources for current or future generations.

The system diverts highly treated sewer water that is currently discharged into the ocean and purifies it through a series of advanced techniques: microfiltration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection and hydrogen peroxide. The cleaned water is returned to the groundwater basin to increase both water supply and quality. The system has established a blueprint for large-scale wastewater purification that is already being emulated in dry regions and nations, such as Singapore.

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