Project expands recycled water supply for south Valley

A reservoir that will hold 37 million gallons of recycled water – irrigation water that won’t be drawn from the ground or the Russian River — is under construction at the treatment plant on Eighth Street East in Sonoma.

The new Reservoir 5 will expand the Sanitation District’s recycled water storage to about 237 million gallons, helping to offset peak water demand in Sonoma Valley and reduce the discharge of treated wastewater into Schell Slough and San Pablo Bay.

Used primarily for irrigation, the reclaimed water will offset groundwater use for home and agricultural purposes that may be stressing aquifer conditions in the southern end of Sonoma Valley.

“Reservoir 5 will offset water demand from the Russian River and groundwater use in Sonoma Valley by expanding the ability to store and deliver recycled water to our region,” said Water Agency Director Valerie Brown. 

Rep. Lynn Woolsey said that with dwindling water supplies in California, the only reliable solution is increased conservation and efficiency, “and that includes recycling and storing wastewater.”

The new reservoir will join four others at the treatment plant at 22675 Eighth St. E. During the dry weather months of May through October, recycled water is provided primarily to vineyards, dairies, and pasturelands southeast of Schellville.

Reservoir 5 will cost $2.3 million and is financed in part by $600,000 in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding through the North Bay Water Reuse Authority. The remaining cost is budgeted the Water District’s Capital Improvement Plan.

Construction activities began earlier this month. The project, which created 10 new jobs through Ford Construction of Lodi, CA, should be complete by the end of the year.

“It’s a prime example of how a project can protect our environment, ensure future water supply and support our local economy,” said Sonoma Mayor Laurie Gallian. “This is a win-win project, and the ARRA funding is the icing on the cake.”

The district will host a public tour of its wastewater treatment plant on Friday, August 19, at 6:30 p.m. The tour is free, but registration is required at 547.1966 or carly.cabrera@scwa.ca.gov.


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