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Posted on: April 11, 2019

City of Malibu Named “Recycled Water Agency of the Year” for Civic Center Water Treatment Facility


The WateReuse Association, California chapter named the City of Malibu the 2019 “Recycled Water Agency of the Year” for its Civic Center Water Treatment Facility (CCWTF), which was completed and started processing wastewater into clean, recycled water for irrigation in October, 2018. The new water treatment facility puts Malibu ahead of the curve of smart, environmentally sound water management practices while combating the realities of climate change and drought here in California. 

The award, for a small community with beneficial water reuse of less than 1,000 acre-feet per year, was announced during the WateReuse Association’s Annual Conference Awards Luncheon on March 18, 2019. 

The WateReuse Association is the nation’s only trade association solely dedicated to advancing laws, policy, funding, and public acceptance of recycled water. WateReuse represents a coalition of utilities that recycle water, businesses that support the development of recycled water projects, and consumers of recycled water. Learn more on their website

The Recycled Water Agency of the Year awards recognize small, medium, and large entities that have developed recycled water, on a significant level, as an alternative water source within their service area. Recipients demonstrate leadership, creativity, and persistence in developing a comprehensive program, as well as outreach to the community to expand awareness and implementation of water recycling. 

Project Background

The City officially completed and opened the facility with a public celebration on October 5, 2018 with State Senator Henry Stern, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and representatives of the State and Regional Water Quality Control Boards. The event included public tours of the facility to explain and highlight the project’s most significant processes and features. 

The project supports local efforts to address California’s drought by reducing the use of high-quality drinking water to irrigate Malibu’s public spaces and parks. At full capacity, the treatment facility will save the Malibu community 70 million gallons of much-needed drinking water annually.

The $60 million state-of-the-art facility was made possible through the cooperation of Civic Center property owners with assistance from the State Water Board. The City formed a community facilities district to fund the design and then formed an assessment district among Civic Center properties to fund the construction. The City was able to secure a $9 million grant, a 1% interest State Revolving Fund loan of $24.6 million and a 1.7% interest State Revolving Fund Loan of $26.8 million that helps lower the annual assessments for each property owner.

Using innovative technology, the facility will capture and treat up to 200,000 gallons of wastewater daily and convert the water for irrigation purposes. The treatment plant uses multiple processes to produce clean, Title 22 recycled water, including particle filtration, centrifuges, ultra-fine filtration membranes, bio-digestion, and UV light to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses.

The plant will improve the quality of life for residents and the Malibu experience for visitors by replacing outdated septic systems. Reverse air pressure in all buildings prevents bad odors from escaping. The air that is drawn out is pushed out through a bed of mulch and wood chips, forming an all-natural, chemical-free filtration process to reduce the impact of foul smells on the surrounding community.

The facility represents a responsible approach to managing the region’s most precious resource: water. The millions of gallons of clean, recycled water produced will irrigate popular community gathering areas and public spaces, including Legacy Park, Bluffs Park, and City Hall. Like Malibu, forward-thinking municipalities and public agencies throughout California are implementing local water supply projects, including wastewater treatment, water recycling, stormwater capture and conservation, to diversify their water supply portfolios, reduce their reliance on imported water supplies and improve overall reliability in the face of climate change. Wastewater treated by the new Civic Center facility represents a meaningful way to help ease the impacts of future drought cycles.

The City of Malibu also received the 2018 Project of the Year Award from the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) for the CCWTF.

 To learn more about the new facility and the City of Malibu's continued commitment to environmental sustainability, and to see photos and videos of the facility, visit the City's project page.

WateReuse Award CCWTF

Public Works Director Rob Duboux and Senior Administrative Assistant Brandie Ayala accepting the WateReuse Award.