Del Mar and Solana Beach come to an agreement on wastewater transportation


By Kristina Houck

Most of Del Mar’s wastewater will now flow north instead of south, with help from neighboring Solana Beach.

In a unanimous vote, the Del Mar City Council on July 7 approved an agreement that will send most of the city’s wastewater through Solana Beach to the San Elijo Water Reclamation Facility in Cardiff, a move that could save Del Mar about $23,000 a year — potentially more in the long-term.

“This is a significant thing that the city is doing,” said Councilman Terry Sinnott, who pulled the item from the council’s consent calendar, a list of items approved with a single vote and no discussion. “I’m happy to see that there is a proposed agreement between the city of Del Mar and the city of Solana Beach.”

Currently, Del Mar’s approximately 600,000 gallons of wastewater per day is treated by the city of San Diego, which costs about $778,700 annually.

During the past two decades the cities of Del Mar, Solana Beach and Encinitas have discussed developing a connection that would redirect the city’s flow to the Cardiff facility.

An engineering analysis completed last fall indicated that connecting to the plant would be beneficial to Del Mar, as well as the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, which is comprised of Solana Beach and Encinitas. On June 2, the Del Mar City Council approved a 30-year agreement with the San Elijo JPA for wastewater treatment. The San Elijo JPA Board approved the agreement at its June 9 meeting. The Solana Beach City Council is expected to vote on its agreement with Del Mar during its July 9 meeting.

As part of the switch, Del Mar will construct a pipeline from the city’s 21st Street pump station. The pipeline will go north along Camino del Mar, then east on Via de la Valle, north on South Cedros Avenue, go through Solana Beach to its pump station, and ultimately to Encinitas.

The pipeline is estimated to cost $1.2 million to $1.5 million. Financing is expected to be $88,000 annually for 30 years. To offset Del Mar’s investment, the San Elijo JPA will credit the city 66.6 percent of the construction cost, up to $60,000 per year.

Because Del Mar’s wastewater will flow through Solana Beach’s existing infrastructure, including the sewer mains, the Cedros Pump Station and the Solana Beach Force Main, the city has agreed to pay its neighbor about $48,000 per year for capital costs and roughly $15,000 per year for operations and maintenance. This cost is already accounted for in the city’s $23,000 projected annual savings.

Del Mar will also maintain its connection to San Diego for peak flow and is expected to still send about 100,000 gallons south per day.

“I commend the city manager, staff and the folks in Del Mar for coming to this agreement,” Sinnott said. “This provides a lot of flexibility in the future for controlling costs. I think it’s a valuable thing that benefits not only Del Mar, but Solana Beach and Encinitas as well.”