Before the establishment of Monterey One Water (M1W)—previously the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency—every community in the Monterey Bay area had its own sewage treatment plant. Most of the communities were discharging their sewage into the Monterey Bay with limited treatment and, in some cases, as little as 300 feet offshore. In 1972, the United States enacted the Federal Clean Water Act which protects against water pollution and regulates discharging of pollutants into the waters, like oceans, rivers, and reservoirs. This set of policies required communities to come together to increase treatment standards and bring regional efficiency to sewer system management.
The Forming of Monterey One Water
In November 1972, M1W was formed by Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Seaside Sanitation Districts. Over the years, many additional entities in northern Monterey County joined the regional system and eventually the members formed a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) (PDF).
In addition to Federal Clean Water Act requirements, it became evident during the early 1970s that the quality of northern Monterey County’s groundwater supply was deteriorating because of extensive withdrawal of groundwater for agriculture. This overdraft led to an increasing problem of seawater intrusion, which threatens the multibillion-dollar agricultural industry and the drinking water supply for the City of Salinas. It also presented an opportunity for water recycling to introduce new water supplies for the community. Learn more on our Recycled Water pages.