The Otay Water District has a history in water recycling that goes back to the early 1960s.
It was in the early 1960s that Director Ralph W. Chapman recognized the value of using this resource and became a vocal advocate for water recycling. Today, not only is it fitting that the District's water recycling facility bear his name, the Ralph W. Chapman Water Recycling Facility, but the District has continued working to achieve his dream of widespread recycled water use.
The District began water recycling with a small packaged treatment plant affectionately named Miss Stinky in the late 1960s. At this time, however, there were few customers for recycled water. It took until the early 1980s for Director Chapman's vision to begin to take shape. As the EastLake I community began construction in 1986, millions of gallons of water were needed for soil compaction and dust suppression. An inexpensive source for water was recycled water from the Chapman facility.
By the early 1990s, the city of Chula Vista and the District began requiring dual piping in new developments, such as EastLake Greens. One set of pipes would supply drinking water for human consumption, while a second set would deliver recycled water to irrigate common areas in these new and growing neighborhoods.
The District today has one of the largest recycled water networks in San Diego County, and it continues to expand. When the new Supply Link project came online in 2007, recycled water from the District's Chapman Treatment Plant was supplemented with recycled water from the city of San Diego's South Bay Water Reclamation Plant. Combined, recycled water from these two facilities accounts for approximately 11 to 15 percent of the District's total water sales.
Ralph Chapman (center) recognized one day recycled water would be a low-cost, long-term supply of new water that would help the region offset its demand for imported water. Today, nearly 50 years later, his dream is being realized.