Unique Public Outreach Effort Offers Virtual Reality Tour of Facilities

Unique Public Outreach Effort Offers Virtual Reality Tour of Facilities

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In an excellent example of public outreach, the East County (California) Advanced Water Purification program recently unveiled a new virtual reality tour video, which allows viewers to explore water/wastewater facilities by looking 360 degrees anywhere in the video by moving their computer mouse or phones.

Viewers are greeted by the program’s animated mascot and are then immersed into a guided tour of the facilities.

Viewers who have a virtual reality headset for cell phones can take engagement a step further by “stepping into” the video. Program representatives will also begin scheduling opportunities for community groups, schools and scouts to view the video using program-provided virtual reality goggles starting in October.

“Bringing this fun, easy to understand and immersive tour to East County’s water and wastewater customers is an important and unique educational resource,” says Kyle Swanson, director of the East County AWP. “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we averaged more than 1,000 people annually touring our facility, many of whom were eager students wanting to learn about this important water resource. This virtual tour helps to refill the learning need and will also be helpful while the East County AWP progresses towards the construction phase.”

Scheduled to be complete in 2025, the program is a partnership between four agencies: Padre Dam Municipal Water District, County of San Diego, City of El Cajon and Helix Water District. The program will use four advanced water purification steps to produce water that is near-distilled in quality. After the advanced water purification process, the purified water will be blended with water in Lake Jennings and treated again at the R.M. Levy Water Treatment Plant before being distributed as drinking water. 

In addition to providing a new local water supply, the program will eliminate the need to send most of East County’s wastewater to the City of San Diego’s Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant, where it is currently treated and then discharged into the ocean.

Learn more about the program and take the tour at www.eastcountyawp.com.


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