San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Program Top Poppy
Level 2 Menu
Photo

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Program?
Q: What is recycled water?
Q: How is recycled water treated?
Q: Why use recycled water?
Q: What are the benefits of using recycled water in my community?
Q: How will recycled water be delivered to the users?
Q: Are recycled water supplies kept separate from drinking water?
Q: Has anyone ever become sick from recycled water?
Q: What kind of environmental review was done for this project?
Q: What is the project cost and how is it being funded?
Q: Who should I contact with any questions or concerns?
Q: Are there financial incentives for customers to use recycled water?
Q: Do any other cities/counties in California/the US/the world use recycled water?

Q: What is the San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Program?

A: The San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Program (SRVRWP) is a water-recycling project jointly sponsored by the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) and the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). The SRVRWP will provide recycled water to large landscape irrigation customers including municipal parks, golf courses, business parks, greenbelts and roadways in Blackhawk, Danville, Dublin and San Ramon. The use of recycled water for landscape purposes conserves high-quality drinking water and provides users with a drought-resistant water supply.

back to top

Q: What is recycled water?

A: The California Water Code defines recycled water as "water which, as a result of treatment of waste, is suitable for a direct beneficial use or a controlled use that would not otherwise occur." Basically, recycled water is highly-treated wastewater that is safe for many non-drinking purposes including irrigation of parks, school landscape and golf courses, habitat restoration and various commercial and industrial uses. This reduces the amount of potable (drinking) water required for non-drinking uses, ensuring that the best and purest sources of water will be reserved for the highest use: drinking water.

back to top

Q: How is recycled water treated?

A: The "wastewater" is cleaned through various processes, which mimic how nature repurifies water, before it can be discharged safely into the San Francisco Bay or used for landscape irrigation and industrial applications. There are three treatment steps that wastewater goes through before it is considered recycled -- primary treatment, secondary treatment, and tertiary-treatment. The steps included in primary treatment are prechlorination (for odor control), screening (to remove large objects), grit removal, and primary sedimentation. Secondary treatment uses "good" bacteria to remove approximately 95-98 percent of the remaining solids and organic material. Tertiary treatment employs filtration to remove any remaining solids and disinfection, such as ultraviolet radiation, to destroy bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, removing even more impurities.

back to top

Q: Why use recycled water?

A: Water is a scarce resource in California. Using recycled water for non-drinking purposes helps conserve potable (drinking) water and reduces the amount of treated wastewater flowing into the San Francisco Bay. Additionally, when the use of potable water is restricted for non-essential uses during times of drought, recycled water will be available for landscape irrigation for recycled water customers.

back to top

Q: What are the benefits of using recycled water in my community?

A: The SRVRWP will help conserve drinking water supplies and provide a drought-resistant water supply to the area for landscaping irrigation. By providing a reliable supply of water for landscaping, the project will enhance the quality of life in the area. It will also protect community and private investments in parks and landscaping. Utilizing recycled water is also environmentally beneficial because it reduces the discharge of treated wastewater into the San Francisco Bay.

back to top

Q: How will recycled water be delivered to the users?

A: The SRVRWP is designed to provide recycled water through a "backbone" system consisting of transmission lines, pump stations and storage facilities to both DSRSD and EBMUD. Building off this "backbone" system, DSRSD and EBMUD each constructed separate distribution systems within their respective service areas to convey recycled water to their own customers.

back to top

Q: Are recycled water supplies kept separate from drinking water?

A: Yes. Regulations require that recycled water facilities be completely separate from drinking water systems. Guidelines set by the California Department of Health Services require recycled water facilities to be clearly distinguishable from potable water facilities to avoid mixing the two supplies. Pipes and other hardware for recycled water systems are colored purple, and labeled with words "Recycled Water - Do Not Drink."

back to top

Q: Has anyone ever become sick from recycled water?

A: Recycled water has been used in agriculture since the 1880s and in California municipalities beginning in 1929. There has never been a documented disease or incidence or other adverse public health effect in the United States related to the use of recycled water meets established standards.

back to top

Q: What kind of environmental review was done for this project?

A: The legally required environmental review for the SRVRWP was completed when the DSRSD-EBMUD Recycled Water Authority (DERWA) Board of Directors certified the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in December 1996 and approved the project. The Tank 1 and Tank 2 Projects were initially evaluated in the EIR, and each received further review in recent environmental documents. The DERWA Board certified these documents in August 2002 and May 2003.

back to top

Q: What is the project cost and how is it being funded?

A: The backbone infrastructure is estimated to cost $86.5 million, with DSRSD and EBMUD funding their individual distribution systems. This project is receiving local, state and federal funding via DSRSD, EBMUD, State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) grants and low-interest loans, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), respectively. USACE is helping the SRVRWP by designing and constructing a pump station and two miles of pipeline using federal funding provided by the Water Resource Development Act of 1999.

back to top

Q: Who should I contact with any questions or concerns?

A: Contact Ingrid Norgaard, Community Affairs Representative for the San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Program at (925) 875-2231 or via email at norgaard@dsrsd.com. Current information can also be found on the project web site www.derwa.org.

back to top

Q: Are there financial incentives for customers to use recycled water?

A: Yes. Recycled water customers will pay less for recycled water than for potable water. A substantial reduction in connection fees also can be expected.

back to top

Q: Do any other cities/counties in California/the US/the world use recycled water?
A: Recycled water is used in many communities in California, the United States, and in different parts of the world. By 2003, more than 4,800 sites in California were using recycled water. Some of the other states where recycled water is an important part of the water supply include Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

back to top

"Water Recycling", also known as Reclamation or Reuse, is an umbrella term encompassing the process of treating wastewater, storing, distributing, and using the recycled water. "Recycled water" is defined in the California Water Code to mean, "water which, as a result of treatment of waste, is suitable for a direct beneficial use or a controlled use that would not otherwise occur."

Bottom Poppy Logos
News Agency Facilities General Information Contacts Site Map Program Information Construction Activities Community Coordination Treatment Process Home FAQ Environmental Documents Recycled Water Web Sites EBMUD Logo DSRSD Logo