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Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016

Wastewater Plant

Every drop of water we use ends up in San Francisco Bay, and it’s the job of the Regional Water Quality Control Plant to make sure it’s treated to remove pollutants before it gets there.

The Regional Water Quality Control Plant is owned and operated by the City of Palo Alto for the communities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford University and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District. The Plant is an advanced treatment facility that uses gravity settling, biological treatment with microorganisms and dual media filtration to remove unwanted organic materials and toxins from the approximately 22 million gallons a day of wastewater generated by the service area’s 220,000 residents. The Plant’s treated effluent meets all of the stringent requirements for discharge to the sensitive South San Francisco Bay.

To contact the Watershed Protection Group and for questions regarding grease traps and restaurants, discharging wastewater, medicine disposal and our schools program call 650.329.2122.

Let Us Hear From You!
We appreciate receiving comments and suggestions from the community. Please call us at 650.329.2598 if you have questions or a suggestion to help us improve our services.

Regional Water Quality Control Plant
2501 Embarcadero Way
Palo Alto, CA 94303

Seeking candidates for the position of Assistant Plant Manager of Operations of the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Click Here to Apply

Capital Improvement Programs (CIP)
WQ-14001:  Dewatering Facility
    Project Description
    Project Review Documentation
    Project Presentation
Last Updated: Mar 10, 2016
Clean Bay Pollution Prevention Plan 2016
The Clean Bay Pollution Prevention Plan report is an annual summary of the Palo Alto's Regional Water Quality Control Plants efforts on reducing pollution from entering local creeks and the San Francisco Bay.
Cover of report

Handwashing vs Antibacterial Products
Washing hands with soap is still the best way to keep germs at bay. Avoid using personal care products that contain triclosan.

Energy/Compost Facility Consideration
This webpage is the third in a series of webpages as an Energy/Compost Facility in Palo Alto is considered.

Pools, Spas and Fountains
The water from your pool, spa or fountain contains contaminants that can harm our creeks and bay. If you must drain your pool, spa or fountain, learn how to do it without harming the environment.
Look for your sanitary sewer clean-out for draining your pool.

Video of Wastewater Plant Process
View all of the steps of the Wastewater Plant process.

Energy/Compost Feasibility Study
On April 5, 2010 the Palo Alto City Council directed staff to hire a consultant to conduct a Feasibility Study for a dry anaerobic digestion facility on the southeast side of Palo Alto's wastewater treatment plant ("Plant"). (See "April 5, 2010 City Council Meeting Results." )

Long Range Facilities Plan Final Report
On July 2, 2012 Palo Alto City Council accepted the Long Range Facilities Plan and the final report was issued in October 2012.

Water Quality Treatment Plant Tours
Tours of the Palo Alto Wastewater Plant are a popular educational tool used by schools, youth groups, and businesses. Visit the newly landscaped Plant grounds and then enjoy the beautiful enhanced bike path along Embarcadero Road.

Wastewater Long Range Facilities Planning
Information about the Wastewater Long Range Facilities Plan, including goals, meetings, maps and policies is located here. Extensive public outreach and notification was given throughout the process.
Linda Gass Artwork

Palo Altans Protecting the Planet---2013 Update
Celebrate the Earth all the time! See the community's progress on our Climate Protection Plan and find links to events, programs and services you can take advantage of now!

Water Quality
annual pollution prevention report for the Watershed Protection group.
Revision Date: 3/3/2016
2010 RWQCP Master Planning
Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant Master Planning (2010)
Membership approval report from City Manager's office, meeting date 12/10/12
Revision Date: 12/6/2012
Revision Date: 4/17/2014
Revision Date: 6/29/2015
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Revision Date: 11/19/2012
Revision Date: 11/19/2012
Revision Date: 11/19/2012
Revision Date: 11/19/2012
Revision Date: 11/19/2012
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Revision Date: 6/19/2012
Goals, Long Range, RWQCP
Revision Date: 5/9/2011
Revision Date: 8/4/2011
Revision Date: 4/17/2014
Current brochure used for wastewater plant tours and classroom presentations. Updated equipment brochure will replace this one eventually.
Revision Date: 8/4/2011
Long Term Goals Study Reports
NPDES Permit For Discharge to San Francisco Bay
Revision Date: 6/1/2009
RWQCP Historical Pollutant Loadings and Removals
View charts showing influent and effluent annual average BOD, ammonia, conductivity, and flow data dating back to 1988.
Revision Date: 4/5/2010
Agreements between the RWQCP partners allocate the plant's hydraulic capacity to the partner cities and agencies. View charts comparing the 2009 partner flow rates with annual average and dry weather flow allocations.
Revision Date: 6/23/2010
Charges for the RWQCP partners are based on wastewater flow and ammonia, chemical oxygen demand, and suspended solids concentrations. View charts of trunkline and influent data from 1995 through 2009.
Revision Date: 5/3/2010