In addition to protecting public health, the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility has another vital responsibility: protecting our environment.
- The Facility monitors the health of aquatic ecosystems and ensures that its highly treated wastewater meets strict standards and can benefit wildlife.
- Treated wastewater released into the South Bay sloughs is so clean that fish spawn in it. Even rarely glimpsed species such as sturgeon are now seen in nearby waterways. Steelhead and longfin smelt, both threatened species, are also making a gradual comeback.
- The Facility restores and protects habitat for western burrowing owls, migratory bird populations and other species that are of concern, threatened, or endangered.
- Former salt ponds on Facility lands are being restored to marshland habitat, and migratory bird populations and other species are increasing.
- Approximately 200 acres of Facility land are set aside as habitat for the Western burrowing owl. San José partners with the Santa Clara Habitat Agency to manage and improve the habitat, as well as track and monitor their activities.
- Take a peek! Wildlife cameras capture up close photos and videos of the burrowing owls feeding, playing and much more!
Preserving Natural Resources
- The Facility recovers renewable resources through sustainable and innovative management practices.
- Roughly 60% of the Facility’s energy needs are met by methane gas generated by the treating settled wastewater solids in the digester tanks.
- Solids removed from the wastewater treatment process produce high-quality Class A biosolids, used by the adjacent landfill for required daily covering of incoming garbage.
- Roughly 10 million gallons of the Facility’s treated water is recycled daily by South Bay Water Recycling for landscape irrigation, industrial process and other non-potable uses. On average, the Facility saves more than 2.2 billion gallons of water per year.
- The Capital Improvement Program is replacing aging infrastructure with energy-efficient equipment.