City Partnership for Wastewater Reuse with Clean Water Ventures


The City of Brawley operates the water service and waste water services for the residents of Brawley. When you turn on your tap to fill a glass of water that water is provided by the City. And when the water falls into the sink or you flush a toilet, the water enters our wastewater system and is then cleaned up at our local sewer plant. Once the water meets certain cleanliness standards the water is released into the New River.

Wastewater systems and sewer treatment plants are expensive to build and operate, and the community has made significant investments in the sewer plant we own and operate. Sewer treatment plants require intensive amounts of energy as the action of moving and pumping water is quite demanding. Sewer treatment plants across California and beyond have been innovating with renewable energy sources such as solar panels and methane gas recapture to try to produce cheaper energy to operate the sewer plants.

The City of Brawley has been looking for ways to save money at our sewer treatment plant through smart staffing, efficient operations or new revenue streams. The partnership with Clean Water Ventures represents a new revenue stream to fund the operations of the sewer treatment plant and provides a long-term cost-effective source of energy to support sewer plant operations.

The Clean Water Ventures Opportunity

Clean Water Ventures (CWV) has developed technology to take moderately treated wastewater and extract clean steam energy / clean electricity and clean “green” hydrogen gas from this process. CWV’s technology can then use this to capture hydrogen gas to produce energy and clean de-ionized water that it can sell into the market. The City of Brawley is agreeing to purchase electricity produced by CWV’s clean hydrogen source to fully power the sewer plant. The rate for the power purchase is the same as the Imperial Irrigation District - our local energy company, but the rate is locked for 20 years and will yield significant savings in the long term.

To get the wastewater it needs to capture hydrogen, CWV has agreed to purchase up to approximately 2,000 acre feet of water a year. This is about 55% of the wastewater produced as the sewer plant in 2023. This is water that would otherwise be released into the New River and generate no revenue for the City. It is anticipated that full-year revenues, once the project is up and running, will be $1,200,000.

CWV will be hiring operating staff for its plant and adding about 20 local jobs.

The master agreement with CWV was presented at the 3/5/2024 City Council meeting and sub-agreement details were ratified at the 5/7/24 City Council meeting. The contract and related staff report are below.

Key points of the agreement include:

  • The City will sell treated water from the City of Brawley’s sewer plant to Clean Water Ventures, Inc. at a rate of $600 per acre-foot. 

  • The City will purchase power from the CWV to power its sewer plant operations at rates that match and will eventually be below Imperial Irrigation District.

  • The City will continue to own, operate and maintain its own water and sewer systems.

  • CWV will locate its plant on the same site as the City sewer treatment plant.

Key Documents

Staff Report - Page 96

Contract with CWV - Page 98

Council Meeting Discussion on Master Agreement

Council Meeting Discussion on Agreement Amendments (still processing and will be posted soon)

May 10, 2024 Information Release

Common Questions and Concerns

No. The City will continue to own, operate and maintain its water system, sewer system and sewer treatment plant.

No. The City of Brawley is actually the one selling wastewater and generating revenue, so we anticipate new revenues will help to fund the operations of our sewer treatment plant and to reduce the need to increase rates as much as we otherwise would without this new revenue.

The water is clean to drinkable, potable standards. CWV will seek out customers to purchase its water byproduct.

CWV will work to identify customers to sell its energy to. The City will be its first customer to use the energy to power our sewer treatment plant.

The plant will be located on the site of the existing sewer treatment plant through a lease arrangement.

There is little risk to the City. CWV takes on the risk to build their plant, the risk that their technology does not work and the risk that their business model does not work out. The City is agreeing to invest $250,000 in the project in the early stages and those funds could be at risk. That represents 1% of the City’s current sewer system reserves. If CWV fails or goes bankrupt, the City will have risked just those funds. CWV is investing over $24,000,000 into the project.

No. Operations at the sewer treatment plan will remain the same. We will just have a couple new pipe connections to feed treated wastewater to CWV. Construction of the plant will generate local jobs and the ongoing operation of the plant will generate approximately 20 jobs at the CWV plant.

No. Calipatria has privatized its entire water system. The City is simply agreeing to sell wastewater to this private company.

The project will go through all the normal environmental reviews that any project of this nature must go through. If the plant requires a permit from the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District, it will seek out the appropriate permit. Generally speaking, this plant is extracting and generating green hydrogen fuel that will provide cleaner power than other power sources in Imperial County and is expected to reduce overall air pollution as a result.

It is not known at this time how much of the water will ultimately be returned to the New River by the CWV plant. Assuming the CWV plant is successful in selling all its water byproduct, approximately 2,000 acre feet a year of water would not enter the New River. This represents about 2.5% of the total water flow of the New River.


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