Ultraviolet rays at new facility will clean water in Sylmar

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Roslan Rahman/AFP/Getty Images

File photo: Singapore-water-environment-Malaysia FEATURE by Martin Abbugao A picture taken on June 1, 2010 shows used water being processed through ultraviolet disinfection at the NEWater plant in Singapore.

Soon, a zap of ultraviolet light will clean drinking water for the L.A. Department of Water and Power at a facility in Sylmar.

The DWP has broken ground on a $60 million project at the Los Angeles Aqueduct Treatment Plant. The plan is to apply intense ultraviolet light to water. That will kill bacteria and microbial contaminants without changing the water's taste.

The utility presently cleans up drinking water at the plant, using ozone, filtration and chlorine. Ultraviolet systems have worked for a long time.

Now they're cheaper than before, and federal environmental officials encourage their use. UV treatment will reduce the amount of chemicals the Department of Water and Power will need to meet rising water quality standards.

When the new plant's complete, operators will hit 600 million gallons of water a day with UV light. That's about as much water as it would take to make the Rose Bowl a bathtub eight times over.

The ultraviolet light water disinfection system in the San Fernando Valley will be the largest in the Western United States when it's complete in three years. Only New York's Catskill-Delaware water system will zap more water with UV rays.

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