The city of Carson is one step closer to becoming the home of one of the world’s largest wastewater recycling programs.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California’s Board of Directors voted on Tuesday to award a $13.9 million contract for the construction of an advanced water treatment demonstration facility at the Sanitation Districts’ Joint Water Pollution Control Plant.

The facility will operate for one year “to generate information needed” for the potential construction of a full-scale recycled water plant at the same site, agency officials said.

“This is a great opportunity for Metropolitan to develop a new source of local water,” Metropolitan board Chairman Randy Record said. “Though last winter brought record rain and snow to many parts of California, our water

supply challenges remain. We face a future that will bring more drought years, compounded by uncertainties from climate change and variability of imported water supplies. Recycled water would provide us a reliable, drought-proof, climate-resilient, local supply to recharge groundwater basins and supply the needs of the region’s growing economy, even in dry years.”

The demonstration facility will cost an estimated $17 million overall to build, and will produce 500,000 gallons of purified wastewater that will be pumped into groundwater basins, the MWDSC said. A full-scale program would take about 11 years and $2.7 billion to build and produce an estimated 150 million gallons per day to be pumped to four groundwater basins in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

“This facility will be key to demonstrating the effectiveness of a state-of-the-art optimized treatment process and generate valuable information to ensure the success of any full-scale program,” Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said.

The MWDSC is a state-established cooperative of 26 cities and water agencies serving nearly 19 million people in the counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura.