Welcome to SOCWA
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San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall
Coastal Treatment Plant

The San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall is a key component to a regional infrastructure system that safely treats and disposes of south Orange County's wastewater. Water that runs down drains from sinks, showers and toilets in more than 185,000 local homes and businesses is diverted to one of four treatment facilities operated by the South Orange County Wastewater Authority or our members. SOCWA uses a portion of these flows to produce recycled water for irrigation and industrial purposes.
The remaining wastewater, known as effluent, is treated to strict state and federal environmental health standards and is discharged into the ocean several miles off the coast via one of SOCWA's two ocean outfalls. The San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall in Dana Point carries approximately 52 percent of the effluent generated in South County.

Environmental Sustainability

SOCWA takes our responsibility to protect the coast and local watersheds very seriously, and our efforts to treat and safely dispose of south Orange County's wastewater are key steps in safeguarding our region's environment and the local economy. SOCWA monitors the local coastline to ensure the wastewater discharged offshore through the San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall does not pose health or environmental risks. We take
samples up to twice per week at 18 monitoring stations in the surf zone and at off-shore locations. The samples are tested and then reported to the Orange County Health Care Agency.

SOCWA's discharge of treated wastewater into the ocean is regulated by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, and requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Since its construction in 1978, the San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall has regularly been in compliance with all provisions of its NPDES permit, which are designed to protect the beneficial use of marine waters, marine life, swimmers, surfers and other ocean recreational uses.

San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall
Permit Renewal Process

About the NPDES Permit

SOCWA's discharge of highly treated wastewater into the ocean via the San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall is regulated by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board, and requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. NPDES permits are mandated
for renewal every five years, and require the discharge meets all applicable Federal Clean Water Act and California Ocean Plan water quality standards. The permit implements rigorous monitoring requirements designed to ensure public health and environmental protection.

SOCWA's Permit Renewal

SOCWA filed for renewal of the San Juan CreekOcean Outfall NPDES permit as required in April 2011. In our permit application, SOCWA
requested approval to discharge an additional 0.38 million gallons of effluent per day. This would allow us to accommodate additional brine
disposal from the proposed expansion of South Coast Water District's Groundwater Recovery Facility. If granted, the permitted flow would
increase from 36.8 million gallons per day to 37.2 million gallons per day. Although the average daily discharge from the San Juan Creek Ocean
Outfall was only 17.3 million gallons per day in 2009, this excess capacity would be needed to safely accommodate rare high-peak situations.
The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board is currently writing SOCWA's new San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall NPDES permit. A draft
permit should be available for public review and comment in early 2012, and the final permit is anticipated to be considered for adoption shortly
thereafter. The existing NPDES discharge permit will remain in effect until a new permit is adopted by the Regional Board.

 

Permit Renewal Process




San Juan Creek Ocean Outfall Specifications
Year Built

1978

Length

2.2 miles

Capacity

36.8 Million gallons per day

Average Annual Discharge

17.3 Million gallons per day

Monitoring Sites

18

Monitoring Frequency

Twice per week in dry season, once per week in wet season

Annual Samples Taken

1,490

Communities Served

Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano