News About the North Bay Water Reuse Authority

Recycled Water Pipeline to Irrigate Landscape at Sonoma Valley Schools and City Park, March 19 Open House

Community Invited to March 19 Open House:
Recycled Water Pipeline Proposed to Irrigate Landscape at Sonoma Valley Unified School District, City Park

Sonoma County Water Agency, 3/9/15

Santa Rosa, CA – An open house informational meeting will be held on Thursday, March 19, 2015 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Sonoma Valley High School Library for the community to learn about the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District’s (Sanitation District) plans to construct a $3 million recycled water pipeline that will provide landscape irrigation to the Sonoma Unified School District (School District). Members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and receive input from the community. Additionally, the community is invited to attend a tour of the Sanitation District on April 18 from 11a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for a look at Sonoma Valley’s recycled water treatment system.

The recycled water pipeline project has been recommended to receive $1.02 million in state Proposition 84 grant funding (the Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006). Project design, permitting and agreements are scheduled for 2015, and project construction is expected to start in 2016. The Sanitation District anticipates that recycled water delivery could start as early as winter 2016/17.

“Recycled water is a sustainable supply of water that can keep playing fields green even in drought conditions,” said Sonoma County Water Agency Director Susan Gorin. “Purchasing local recycled water will reduce the cost of water for both the School District and the City of Sonoma, and decrease the amount of energy used to transport the water, which currently comes all the way from the Russian River.”

The Sanitation District is proposing to construct a recycled water pipeline in collaboration with the School District to provide recycled water to Sonoma Valley High, Adele Harrison Middle and Prestwood Elementary schools. The recycled water may also be used to offset irrigation at the city of Sonoma’s Engler Street Park, and there will be an opportunity for agricultural users along the pipeline route to connect to the system.

“Recycled water is already used at about 400 parks, playgrounds and schools in California,” said Sonoma Valley Unified School District Superintendent Louann Carlomagno. “Using recycled water to irrigate playing fields is a safe and sustainable way to save an estimated $60,000 each year between the three schools.”

“Using recycled water instead of potable water for irrigation helps the City of Sonoma conserve potable water and improves the reliability of our water supply,” said Dan Takasugi, Public Works Director/City Engineer for the City of Sonoma. “We wish recycled water could reach more large irrigated locations in the City of Sonoma, but the infrastructure costs are very large. This project touches some of the City’s largest irrigated areas for the least cost.”

The Sanitation District, which is managed by the Sonoma County Water Agency, currently provides recycled water for agricultural irrigation in Sonoma Valley and supplies recycled water for restoration of salt marshes along the Napa-Sonoma County border.

Sonoma Valley meets its water needs through a combination of Russian River water and groundwater. Water from the Russian River travels over 30 miles in a series of pipes to Sonoma Valley and the amount of water available is dependent upon drought conditions. The Sonoma Valley groundwater basin has localized decline of groundwater levels, and offsetting groundwater pumping with recycled water use is one way to reduce groundwater declines.

Using recycled water to irrigate playing fields and parks will reduce Sonoma Valley’s reliance on water from the Russian River. The use of recycled water for agricultural irrigation along the pipeline route will help reduce groundwater pumping. The use of recycled water to irrigate parks and school playgrounds is a common practice throughout California and many parts of the United States, including Texas, Florida and Arizona.

Water is continually recycled in nature through the water cycle. Modern wastewater treatment replicates the natural recycling process to restore large quantities of water quickly and effectively. Recycled water produced by the Sanitation District is treated to tertiary recycled water standards (also referred to as advanced wastewater treatment) which is the highest level of treatment defined by the State of California, Title 22 California Code of Regulations. The wastewater goes through primary treatment, biological treatment, filtration, and disinfection before it is considered tertiary recycled water. Then, following strict regulatory requirements, the recycled water is sent through a series of pipes that are separate from the drinking water system and is used for applications including landscape irrigation.

Open House with the Project Team

Attend an open house on March 19th with the project team to ask questions and provide input on the project.
Date: March 19th, 2015
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Location: Sonoma Valley High School Library, 20000 Broadway, Sonoma

Tour of the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District

Recycled water in Sonoma Valley is treated to the highest level of treatment as defined by Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations. Come see how it’s done on a tour of the Sanitation District.
Date: April 18th, 2015
Time: 11a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: 22675 8th Street East, Sonoma

For more information or to sign up for email updates please visit Additionally, contact Brad Sherwood at the Sonoma County Water Agency at (707)547-1927 or

The Sonoma County Water Agency is working to secure our future by investing in our water resources, community and environment. The Water Agency provides water supply, flood protection and sanitation services for portions of Sonoma and Marin counties. Visit us on the Web at