In 1959, residents of the unincorporated North San Diego County coastal community of Leucadia established the Leucadia County Water District. The District was established on April 8, 1959 under the County Water District Law (Division 12 of the California Water Code). Established as an independent special district, (What is a Special District? Click Here) the District was authorized to provide wastewater collection and treatment services and to levy rates and fees to support those services. As such, the District initially provided wastewater services to the 2,700 residents of the Leucadia area and surrounding community. The District was later renamed the Leucadia Wastewater District in 2003 to better reflect the services provided.
To meet the wastewater needs of its customers, the District constructed and began operating a 750,000 gallon per day wastewater treatment plant in 1962. Treated wastewater from the plant was used to irrigate La Costa Spa and Resort Golf Course. The facility was later named the Forest R. Gafner Water Reclamation in honor of Forest R. Gafner, one of the early community leaders who laid much of the groundwork for the formation of the District.
As the service area population grew, the need for additional treatment facilities became apparent. To meet these growing needs, the District joined the Encina Joint Powers Authority in 1971, and became a part owner of the Encina’s regional treatment plant located west of Interstate 5 in Carlsbad. The District owns approximately 20% of the treatment capacity at Encina and presently transports an average of 4.5 million gallons of wastewater per day (MGD) to the Encina facility.
In 1993, the District upgraded the Gafner Water Reclamation Facility to meet new regulatory standards for recycled water. The District now pumps secondary-treated effluent (treated wastewater) from the Encina plant to the Gafner filtration facility. The Gafner facility presently produces 86 million gallons of recycled water per year, which is still used to irrigate the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa Golf Course.
Today, the District covers a total service area of 10,200 acres (16 square miles) which includes the original service area in Leucadia as well as portions of the cities of Carlsbad (the La Costa area) and Encinitas.