Water Recycling Program
Padre Dam has been a leader in water recycling for more than 50 years. The water recycling process began in Santee in the late 1950s followed by the opening of Santee Lakes Recreation Preserve in 1961. The recycled water project and Santee Lakes received worldwide attention and continue to attract interest in the field of water reuse. In 1997, the Ray Stoyer Water Recycling Facility was expanded to 2 million gallons per day to provide water for Santee Lakes and for non-potable reuse in portions of the community.
Padre Dam's recycled water meets Title 22 standards and is approved for full body contact recreation and accidental ingestion, however it is not approved for drinking water consumption. Producing recycled water that is safe to drink requires additional treatment. Residents of Orange County, California, drink recycled water treated with reverse osmosis, injected into a groundwater basin, then treated again prior to distribution.
Water Treatment Plant 1961
Water Recycling Facility 1968
Engineer Gale Ruffin and General Manager Ray Stoyer
at Water Recycling Facility in 1968
Ray Stoyer Water Recycling Facility 1997
Filling Santee Lakes, Lake 3 in 1960
Water Monitoring at Santee Lakes in 1962
Santee Lakes 1963
Fishing at Santee Lakes
Future Recycled Water Use - East County Advanced Water Purification
Padre Dam is working toward an exciting new water reuse opportunity that could supply a safe, reliable, local and environmentally-friendly supply of drinking water to East County. The East County Advanced Water Purification Project is partnership between Padre Dam, Helix Water Distinct, the City of El Cajon and County of San Diego and has the potential to produce up to 30% of East County's drinking water.The Program would take recycled water through an additional four-step water purification process using state-of-the-art technologies. By the time the water leaves the fourth treatment step is has been cleaned to the highest health and safety standards. For more information on this program or to tour our Demonstration Project visit our Advanced Water Purification page.