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July 25, 2024 12:16AM
July 25, 2024 0:16AM

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Michelson Water Recycling Plant

The Michelson Water Recycling Plant in Irvine has been IRWD's primary source of recycled water for more than half a century.

Tertiary (three-stage) treatment of sewage there results in a high-quality recycled water, which is used for landscape and agricultural irrigation, and for industrial and commercial needs. (The organic solids left over from the sewage treatment process are piped to the adjacent Biosolids and Energy Recovery Facility, where they are converted to a valuable resource as fertilizer or fuel.)

Recycled water is not for drinking or other in-home uses, but every gallon of recycled water saves a gallon of drinking water. 


IRWD pioneered the use of purple pipes to identify recycled water systems and keep them separate from drinking water pipeline. Click here to read the true tale of how the District set that national standard for recycled water.

In 1967, the Michelson plant began delivering about 2 million gallons per day of tertiary-treated recycled water to agricultural users. Over the years IRWD's water recycling program grew from this limited use to a nationally recognized program that provides water for a variety of other nondrinking uses.

Several improvements to the plant have contributed to an increase in capacity, including the MWRP Phase 2 Expansion Project completed in 2014, which boosted capacity by 7 million gallons a day.

Today, MWRP's recycled water production capacity has grown to 28 million gallons per day.

IRWD MWRP 2013 032