SANTA CLARA – The City of Santa Clara was recognized today at the 2014 WateReuse California Conference with the Water Agency of the Year Award for the category of utilities or agencies of medium size. This award acknowledges the city’s commitment to promoting beneficial reuse of water through the use of recycled water, and the development of this drought-proof water source in the community.
“At no time has the use of recycled been more important than it is now, when Northern California is experiencing the worst drought on record for several hundred years”, said Department director Chris de Groot. “Santa Clara has demonstrated proactive and progressive development of its recycled water program, which began nearly 15 years ago.”
Recognized as an early standout, with its 1989 American City & County Award of Merit for irrigating the Santa Clara Golf & Tennis Club, the City has gone on to develop a recycled water program that provides 13.3% of its total water supply. Santa Clara’s leadership is apparent in the scale of its program: 34 miles of pipeline; 233 active connections; 2.8 MGD of demand served. Leadership is also evident in the way this full-service City uses a wide-range of tools, including its environmental review process to match the right water to the right use.
Santa Clara’s creative program goes well beyond landscape irrigation and provides recycled water to a variety of approved uses including 11 dual plumbed buildings, 9 cooling tower and 8 industrial sites. Its marquee customers include California Paperboard, Santa Clara University, Air Products & Chemicals, and Silicon Valley Power’s Donald Von Raesfeld Power Plant and Great America Theme Park. Many cooling tower customers are large data centers which require constant air cooling around vital equipment housed within those buildings.
The program persistently works to meet or exceed regulatory expectations and maintains a team of highly trained professionals. Seven certified cross-connection specialists and ten backflow testers are on staff to keep up with regulatory testing and providing expertise to the City’s water customers. This team has collaborated with California Department of Public Health on the intricacies of properly managing dual plumbed buildings to ensure public safety.
With as many as 75,000 fans expected to move through Levi’s Stadium on any given weekend, which is dual-plumbed, the City’s recycled water program will continue to expand awareness of the importance and viability of incorporating recycled water to encourage a sustainable Bay Area water supply. Levi’s Stadium is currently seeking LEED Gold certification and is plumbed for recycled water for cooling towers, landscape irrigation, and is dual-plumbed for toilet flushing.
With increased interest in development in Santa Clara, the ability to serve industries with recycled water will help support economic development in a sustainable manner and contribute to a thriving community. The City can charge 62% lower rates for recycled water for such uses as landscape irrigation, toilet flushing and cooling tower make-up water.
Recycled water in Santa Clara is sourced from the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility, where tertiary treated water that has undergone treatment to remove solids, pollutants and pathogenic bacteria, travels through water mains to key areas of the City that have industrial and business campus buildings.
WateReuse Association, California Section’s mission is “To promote responsible stewardship of California’s water resources by making maximizing the safe, practical and beneficial use of recycled water and by supporting the efforts of the WateReuse Association”. The Water Agency of the Year Award recognizes agencies that have developed recycled water on a significant level as an alternative water source within their service area, regionally, or statewide, and have demonstrated leadership, creativity, and persistence in developing a comprehensive program, as well as outreach to the community to expand awareness and implementation of water recycling.
Christopher de Groot