Recycled Water

The City of Palo Alto Utilities is investigating the expansion of the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant's (RWQCP) regional recycled water system to serve areas in the City of Palo Alto.

Items Available for Download

  • Study documenting the work conducted in support of this effort, known as the Palo Alto Recycled Water Project, 
  • The Initial Study/Mitigated Negative Declaration (IS/MND) for the project  (The City has prepared a Response to Comments on the Draft Mitigated Negative DeclarationThe Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration and the Response to Comments document are collectively considered the Final Mitigated Negative Declaration).  The first draft was issued March 2009 and contained an initial study checklist evaluating impacts on the environment associated with construction and operation of the project. Comments were received during the 30-day public comment period, and the City completed a Response to Comments document in May 2009. Due to public concerns regarding the irrigation of redwood trees with recycled water, the City did not take action on the IS/MND.  
  • Notice of Preparation (NOP) of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) Recycled Water Project. Since May 2009, the City has decided to prepare an EIR that focuses on the key issues of the project, including the effects of project operation on redwood trees.   The NOP is the official notice of this EIR preparation.
  • Palo Alto Recycled Water Project:  The Palo Alto Recycled Water Project proposes the construction of a recycled water pipeline and associated facilities to provide an alternative water supply for non-potable uses. The proposed project would involve the construction of approximately five miles of 12 to 18-inch pipes, two pump stations, and approximately five miles of lateral pipelines to over 50 use sites. It is anticipated that the project would initially serve approximately 900 acre-feet per year of recycled water, mostly to the Stanford Research Park Area. The predominant use of recycled water for this project is landscape irrigation. Some industrial use, such as commercial and light industrial cooling towers, could also be included at a later date.

Steps Toward Completing the Project

  • Facility Plan and Environmental Documentation – The Facility Plan is complete; however, the Environmental Impact Report is just beginning. The draft Environmental Impact Report's Notice of Preparation (NOP) has been published.  These steps represent the preliminary planning stage for the Project, enabling pre-design and design to begin in the near future assuming funding pursuits are successful.
  • Funding Pursuit and Financial Planning – As discussed in the financing plan section, securing funding is vital to the feasibility of the Project. The City will continue to pursue funding opportunities identified in this Study. The Project may not advance to further stages until adequate funding is secured. As part of the funding pursuit, a detailed financial plan (including annual projections) will be developed. Additionally, as part of financial planning activities, the City must address coordination and management issues between the CPAU (responsible for this) and the Department of Public Works (responsible for the operation of the RWQCP). Many of these aspects have been addressed previously by the City of Mountain View and RWQCP for the Phase 2 Project. Institutional, financial, and operational agreements will formalize the roles and responsibilities of the project.
  • Market Assurances – The City has developed a recycled water use ordinance for the Stanford Research Park and users located in the vicinity of the proposed backbone system. A copy of the ordinance is provided in Appendix F of the plan.
  • Implementation of Regional Salt Management Strategies and Stakeholder Outreach – The RWQCP in coordination with its partners, including the City of Palo Alto, will be implementing the regional salt management strategies over the course of the project and will continue these activities through the operation of the regional system. These strategies are described in Chapter 3 of the plan.
  • Permitting and Agency Coordination – The City will need to address permitting issues and stakeholder agency coordination during design. The major jurisdictional and stakeholder agencies and required permits and approvals required for implementing the Project have been identified in Chapter 5.
  • Design and Construction – The Project could move into design in 2013 and into construction in 2014.

More on the report

Last Updated: Dec 31, 2014