Photo by Jeremy Kemp

City of Oceanside Dedicates First Advanced Purification Facility in the San Diego Region

Today, the first operating advanced water purification facility in San Diego County was officially dedicated in the City of Oceanside. Elected officials and water leaders throughout southern California commemorated the milestone aptly celebrated on “World Water Day.”

Pure Water Oceanside purifies recycled water to create a new local source of high-quality drinking water that is clean, safe, drought-proof and environmentally sound.

The $70 million project uses advanced technology, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and advanced oxidation to provide 3 million gallons per day or more than 20% of the City of Oceanside’s drinking water supply. The source of the recycled water to create the purified water is from the city’s own San Luis Rey Water Reclamation Facility.

“Pure Water Oceanside exemplifies our commitment to innovative projects that improve the lives of the citizens who call our great city home,” said City of Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez. “Not only will the project safeguard against ongoing drought concerns, but it will also improve the quality and quantity of our local aquifer and reduce our reliance on imported water, ensuring clean and reliable water is available for future generations.”

“On this World Water Day, we celebrate the City of Oceanside’s contribution to managing our invaluable water resources with the opening of Pure Water Oceanside,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director, City of Oceanside. “Today we made history by moving one step closer to achieving the goal of greater water independence for not only our city, residents and businesses, but also the region as a whole.”

Pure Water Oceanside addresses a variety of challenges faced by the city. Before the project went online, Oceanside imported most of its water from the Sacramento Bay Delta and the Colorado River, hundreds of miles away. This imported water is subject to rising costs out of the city’s control, requires an enormous amount of energy to transport and is vulnerable to natural disasters and earthquakes. Pure Water Oceanside addresses these challenges by diversifying the city’s water supply and reducing its reliance on imported water.

The launching of Pure Water Oceanside coincides with a larger movement for the region as a whole to create sustainable water supplies in San Diego County. In addition to Pure Water Oceanside, two other water reuse projects are planned for the region: the East County Advanced Water Purification Program and Pure Water San Diego.

The public can learn more about Pure Water Oceanside by visiting the city’s website, including watching a virtual reality video at

About the City of Oceanside: The City of Oceanside is located in northern San Diego County with a population of approximately 170,000. Oceanside’s vibrant coastal community includes MiraCosta Community College, Camp Pendleton and the world-renowned 1,601-foot fishing pier and 1,000-slip public marina. Oceanside is located 83 miles south of the city of Los Angeles and just 35 miles north of the City of San Diego. The City of Oceanside offers outstanding public amenities such as 30 city parks, four community recreation centers, two municipal swim centers, two senior centers, two city-owned golf courses and 3.5 miles of public beaches. More than 6,000 businesses operate within the City of Oceanside, including Genentech Pharmaceuticals, TE Connectivity, Hydranautics a Nitto Group Company, Gilead Sciences, Hobie Cat and Tri-City Medical Center, as well as emerging craft and entrepreneurial ventures.

For more information, visit

MEETING THE NEED: Developing Certification for Advanced Water Treatment Operators

The following has been reformatted and republished with permission from September 2019 Journal AWWA (Vol. 111, No. 9). Copyright AWWA 2019. All rights reserved. The original article may be accessed on the Journal AWWA website at

By Steven Garner
Certification Manager

Key Takeaways

The California–Nevada Section of AWWA and California Water Environment Association sought a new industry certification for operators working with advanced water treatment (AWT) processes.

A diverse set of stakeholders and experts added their perspectives on the development of the new certification.

The AWTO Grade 3 exam was released in July 2019.

Water has been reused since ancient times, primarily resulting from upstream users discharging their waste into rivers, lakes, and other water bodies. Over time, nonpotable reuse gained popularity to meet irrigation and industrial demands. So, while overall reuse is not new, intentional potable reuse (i.e., treating wastewater historically released into the environment so that it meets drinking water standards) is still a relatively novel approach to water supply for almost all utilities.


Learn More about AWTO at Upcoming Events

Upcoming Presentations

  • Oct 21st – San Diego – Advanced Water Treatment Operator 1-Day Workshop, CA-NV AWWA Fall Conference learn more

Request a Presentation

To request an AWTO speaker please contact: Alec Mackie, CWEA, 510.382.7800 x114

Past Presentations

Event, Speaker, date

  • WateReuse CA 2019, Erin Mackey, 3/20/2018
  • AWWA Conference, Gordon Williams, 6/15/2018
  • GES of CWEA, Larry Parlin, 11/15/2018
  • ABC Innovation in Certification, Steven Garner, 1/10/19
  • WateReuse CA 2019, Erin Mackey, 3/18/2019
  • CA-NV AWWA Conference, Peter Brooks and Steven Garner, 3/25/2019
  • MWD, Heather Collins, 3/29/2019
  • WateReuse LA , Toby Roy, 4/9/2019
  • CWEA Annual Conference, Norah Duffy, 4/11/19
  • City of Modesto Dr. John Rowe, 4/15/2019
  • Desal Conference, Gordon Williams, 4/15/2019
  • ACWA Spring Conference, Steven Garner   5/8/2019
  • SoCal CA-NV AWWA, Jack Bebe , 5/15/2019
  • SARBS of CWEA, Chibby Alloway, 5/15/2019
  • WateReuse Central Coast, Chris Martin, 5/23/2019
  • SWMOA Conference, Yan Zhang and Alec Mackie, 6/24/2019
  • Monterey Bay AWTO training workshop, 7/10/19
  • July 28-30 – Flagstaff – WateReuse AZ – AWTO program update with Erin Mackey
  • August 6-8 – Las Vegas – TriState Seminar – AWTO info table (in the sessions area)
  • August 21 – Orange – CA-NV Water Education Symposium
  • Sept 9 – San Diego – WateReuse Conference – AWTO Certification update with Erin Mackey

We are now accepting applications for the AWT3 Certification Exam

The AWT Operator™ Certification program is kicking off and we’re ready to start taking applications for the exam.

Remember, to apply for the AWT3 exam you must current hold a Grade 3, California or Nevada issued operator certification (drinking water treatment operator or wastewater treatment operator).

Follow the steps on the Apply page.

The first step is to download the AWTO™ Candidate Handbook.

The future of water is starting now.
Get AWTO certified.

Good luck!

AWTO Program Development Timeline

AWT Operator Program

Tasks Completed
✔ AWTO™ Certification Committee formed
✔ Group of Subject Matter Experts identified and interviewed
✔ Job analysis completed
✔ KSAs finished for grades 3-5
✔ Minimum qualifications developed for grades 3-5
✔ Market research/forecasts written
✔ Business plan/budgets outlined
✔ CA-NV AWWA & CWEA Memorandum of Agreement signed
✔ Selected Dainis and Company as our exam development consultant
✔ Interview Subject Matter Experts (SME)
✔ Engage SMEs with item writing (exam questions)
✔ Creation of SME extraction document of all interviews
✔ Review Items
✔ Rate items based upon minimally competent operator answering correctly
✔ Determine passing score
✔ Create exam form (AWT3™)
✔ Create exam form (AWT4™)
✔ Create exam form (AWT5™)
✔ Develop candidate handbook
✔ Sign contract with computerized based testing provider

Tasks Ahead

⦾ Deliver first exams summer 2019

To stay up-to-date with each milestone, please sign up for the AWTO e-mail list >