Approximately 350 miles of pipelines and 11 pumping stations serve as the sanitary collection system backbone to direct this community's domestic and industrial wastewater to its treatment plant, the Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility (HARRF).

The HARRF started at its current location in 1959 and is an activated sludge, secondary treatment facility. This consists of physical, biological, and chemical treatment methods, which include screening, sedimentation, chemical precipitation, and biological processes. Escondido operates the HARRF for the benefit of the City and the Rancho Bernardo area of the City of San Diego. The facility is designed to treat wastewater flow of 18 million gallons per day (MGD), operating 24 hours a day; the average daily flow is 12.7 MGD, comprised of Escondido's flow of 9.7 MGD and Rancho Bernardo's flow of 3.0 MGD.

The wastewater flow is called influent as it enters the facility and effluent as it exits the facility. It is treated through a series of complex processes to a level of quality that is safe to discharge from the HARRF. The effluent is sent to the Pacific Ocean via a 14-mile long land outfall pipeline, that connects to an ocean outfall pipeline near the San Elijo Lagoon. The effluent exits the outfall pipeline approximately 1.5 miles offshore through diffuser ports 110-feet deep in the Pacific Ocean. Additionally, through the treatment process, the plant produces organic material called biosolids. The City sends 100% of the biosolids to Yuma, Arizona for beneficial reuse as a soil amendment to grow hay and Sudan grass, which is used for livestock feed.

Through hard work and dedication, HARRF staff have been awarded numerous awards by industry peers and organizations, also resulting in the HARRF having been awarded "Plant of the Year," multiple times by the California Water Environmental Association.

Water Reclamation and Reuse Program

The Water Reclamation and Reuse Program is an innovative program offering additional services to industrial and commercial customers. The HARRF began production of Title 22 Tertiary water, now commonly referred to as Recycled or Reclaimed Water in 2004. The reclamation process consists of HARRF effluent being routed through a series of complex processes to a level that is safe to be used as recycled water. This recycled water has many uses, including irrigation on local golf courses, parks, school grounds, green belts, roadway medians and open spaces. Industrial uses include power plant cooling towers, currently the majority of HARRF’s recycled water is used at Sempra Energy’s power plant.

The City of Escondido Utilities Department, Wastewater Division is currently embarking on projects that will include a state-of-the-art membrane filtration and reverse osmosis facility (MFRO), as well as additional distribution lines to deliver high quality water low in total dissolved solids (TDS) and chlorides. This water will be provided to agricultural growers who produce crops that require this high-quality water and are essential to the local economy. Upon completion, the project will produce up to 2,226 acre-feet of water annually.

Public Tours 

Typically, public tours of the HARRF by interested groups, citizens, and schools are gladly accommodated and available by appointment. Interested parties can contact the facility main line at 760-839-6290 to put in a request to schedule a tour.

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