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Frequently Asked Questions

Is recycled water safe?

Yes. Recycled water must meet stringent regulatory requirements monitored by the State Department of Health Services and be treated to the State of California Title 22 standards for tertiary (advanced) treatment of water. It must also meet regional and local standards. Wastewater is treated to these rigid standards to ensure that public health and environmental quality are protected. The LGVSD’s recycled water is monitored and tested daily to ensure that it consistently meets these high quality standards.

What is the LGVSD doing to make sure the recycled water is always safe?

The recycled water quality is monitored by LGVSD personnel daily to ensure that rigid water quality standards are continually met. Additional monitoring is done by local regulatory agencies. Water testing takes place throughout the treatment process. Water quality testing results are reported to, and monitored by, regulatory officials to ensure high quality standards are met.

What happens if my dog or pet drinks it?

No health related problems have ever been traced to any of the reclamation projects throughout the country. Recycled water is safe for pets, wildlife, and farm animals as well.

Is recycled water safe?

Recycled water is highly engineered for safety and reliability so that the quality of recycled water is more predictable than many existing surface and groundwater sources. Recycled water is considered safe when appropriately used. Recycled water planned for use in recharging our aquifers or augmenting our surface water receives adequate and reliable treatment before mixing with naturally occurring water and undergoing natural restoration processes. Some of this water eventually becomes part of our drinking water supplies.

Will the recycled water be safe for children playing in parks?

The water will be treated to a quality that can be used to supply a recreational lake used for boating and swimming. The California Department of Health Services has determined that with the treatment process proposed the water is essentially “pathogen free.” In other words this water is carefully monitored and cleaner and safer than water at most beaches.

Is the use of recycled water for crop irrigation safe?

Yes. In a study of recycled water use by the Napa Sanitation District for vineyard irrigation, carried out by the University of California, it was concluded that the water “is suitable for vineyard irrigation” and that “there were no salinity or toxicity issues that would limit the use of this water.” Another study by the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency concluded that “the use of filtered secondary municipal water for irrigation of food crops consumed unprocessed is safe.” No viruses were found in samples of crops grown with recycled water and levels of naturally occurring bacteria were equivalent to those found in well water-irrigated crops. Additionally, the study showed that marketability, quality and yield of recycled water-irrigated crops were comparable to crops grown with other sources of water.

Will recycled water from this project pollute rivers, creeks, streams, and local groundwater?

No. Currently water is treated to a high level and then sent to rivers, and the Bay. Regulatory requirements are designed to ensure that discharges from water treatment are safe for the environment. Recycled water is treated to an even higher level.

Water recycling, long past the experimental stage, is widely practiced throughout the nation and around the world to irrigate crops as well as golf courses, parks, school grounds and other open spaces without any ill effects. It is used satisfactorily in Calistoga, St Helena, Yountville, Napa, Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Novato, San Francisco, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Daly City and other Bay Area communities. These uses have been shown to be safe and to not cause adverse impact to rivers, creeks, streams or groundwater.

What are the benefits of the recycled water that will be constructed?

Among the many benefits of a coordinated, well-planned approach to the use of recycled water are:

  • Reliable irrigation water for parks, golf courses, school grounds, other public landscaping, vineyards and other agricultural uses, as well as industrial applications.
  • Increased water for wetland habitat restoration and stream flows for riparian habitat and fisheries recovery, and groundwater supplies.
  • Less discharge of treated water into San Pablo Bay and its tributaries.
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