LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A plan from the Department of Water and Power (DWP) has been approved to reduce the city’s dependence on imported water by building the world’s largest groundwater treatment center in the San Fernando Basin.

The cost for the treatment center – which would be built on one of the largest Superfund pollution sites in the U.S. – will come at a cost of between $600 million to $800 million for two facilities.

Over the years, pollution from toxic chemicals such as perchlorate has made about half of the 115 wells in San Fernando Valley unusable, according to the Associated Press.

DWP officials told the Los Angeles Times the facilities would allow the city to cut imported water purchases by half by the year 2035.

Water expert and associate director of UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Dr. Mark Gold told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the plants are designed to both clean up the groundwater as well as provide local ratepayers with a local – and affordable – water supply.

“The big driver here – let’s be honest – is that Metropolitan Water District costs per acre foot of water has just been going up and up with no end in sight,” Gold said. “My bet is they’ll be able to pump and deliver that water and treat the water for lower than $900 bucks an acre foot.”

Since 2003, local groundwater has provided approximately 13 percent of the total water supply for Los Angeles, and historically has provided nearly 30 percent of the city’s total supply in drought years, according to DWP.

Marty Adams of the DWP says construction will begin in five years on two treatment centers that will open in 2022 and could produce about a quarter of the city’s water, according to the Associated Press.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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