The City uses recycled water for irrigation of sites with large amounts of high water using plants, such as turf grass. Every gallon of recycled water used for irrigation saves a gallon of potable water that can be used in homes and businesses. At El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant, treated wastewater (secondary effluent) is sent through filters to produce tertiary treated recycled water. The recycled water system is entirely separate from the drinking water system, typically using purple colored pipes, meter boxes, and sprinklers, and posted signage at all sites. Recycled water is mainly used for irrigating landscaping at parks, schools, the zoo, golf courses, and homeowners associations. Additionally, some of the recycled water is used for toilet flushing and dust control. The recycled water project was completed in 1991; the City continues to expand the use of recycled water at existing sites, as well as identifying new sites. For more information, visit our Recycled Water Homepage.
The system in its current configuration has the capacity to treat and deliver 1,400 acre feet per year; current demand is approximately 800 AFY, plus about 300 AFY of process water used at EEWTP.
Recycled water is a non-variable supply in that it can only be supplied to those customers that are connected to the recycled water system. Potable water is sometimes blended with recycled water as a means of maintaining acceptable recycled water quality.
The capital cost for construction was approximately $15.2 million. Variable costs (operation and maintenance) range from $158/AF to $247/AF depending on pressure zone. Recycled water is provided to customers at a lower rate than potable water as an incentive for users.