NEWPORT BEACH : State OK to Be Sought for Treated Waste Water

Despite unanimous opposition by Newport Beach council members, the Irvine Ranch Water District will seek state approval of a two-year plan to send treated waste water into Upper Newport Bay.

“Their community is opposed to the project and they’ve reflected their position that way. But I believe the project is a good project,” said Peer A. Swan, president of the water district’s board of directors.

The water district does not require Newport Beach’s support but must have the approval of the California Regional Water Quality Control Board. It is expected to discuss the issue Jan. 5.

The City Council on Monday voted unanimously to oppose the plan to release 5 million gallons of reclaimed waste water daily through a series of ponds and into the bay during non-summer months.


Independent reports by a UCLA biologist and a San Diego-based wetlands ecologist concluded the project would not benefit the bay’s ecosystem, as the water district contends.

State water quality officials have said the type of water the district proposes to send into the bay is higher quality than runoff water that comes from San Diego Creek. Biologists from the Department of Fish and Game, who once opposed the project, now agree with that.

The project would save Irvine city water users close to $20 million within 10 years, according to the district.