About the Program

What the Sunnyvale Cleanwater Program will do

A long list of important objectives will provide an updated system that serves the community for decades to come:

  1. Minimize capital and operational costs for rate payers by selecting the best and most cost-efficient technologies that meet our needs.
  2. Meet current and future regulatory standards for air and water quality, and treatment byproducts like biosolids.
  3. Provide a more reliable power supply through renewable energy produced by the Plant.
  4. Enhance safety measures and maximize the use of existing space at the facility.
  5. Employ innovative technologies that improve operational efficiency.
  6. Ensure projects are designed and built with flexibility in mind to adapt to future financial and regulatory changes.
  7. Extend the useful life of existing facilities where practical to get maximum benefit possible.
  8. Protect against flooding and risks associated with sea level rise.

Four Excellent Reasons to Complete the Sunnyvale Cleanwater Program

  1. The Sunnyvale Water Pollution Control Plant protects the San Francisco Bay by collecting and cleaning wastewater 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
    • The process removes solids, bacteria and viruses, meeting all federal and state standards.
    • The renovated facility will operate continuously but it will be more efficient and reliable, using cost effective, proven wastewater treatment technology.
    Chlorine Contact Channels

    Chlorine Contact Channels comprise part of tertiary treatment.

  2. The plant’s existing facilities are reaching the end of their useful life and upgrades are necessary to reliably meet environmental and regulatory requirements.
    • Nationwide agencies are dealing with this critical challenge of upgrading their aging water and wastewater systems to continue to serve customers for decades to come.
    • Locally at the Plant, our team is working to keep the current facilities functional for as long as possible. This included updating the disinfection facility by converting the process used to a more modern one.
    • Upgrades are necessary to reliably meet environmental and regulatory requirements.
    • The renovated facility will operate continuously and it will be more efficient and reliable, using cost effective, proven wastewater treatment technology.
    • The Cleanwater Program – designed through preparation of a Master Plan for the Plant – will maximize the useful life of existing facilities.  
  3. The Sunnyvale Cleanwater Program will be implemented using proven technologies in a financially responsible manner while minimizing impacts to the surrounding community and environment.
    • The renovated Plant will be more operationally resilient, promote resource recovery and continue to meet regulatory standards.
    • This ensures that the plant will help preserve public health and protect the environment by improving the quality of the water that is cleaned and released into the San Francisco Bay.
    • The City will work to minimize and address impacts during construction that may include noise, dust and odor as well as traffic impacts.
    • The City is also committed to preserving the recreational uses surrounding the plant, including the Bay Trail.
    • Finally, the City is committed to keeping the sewer service fees affordable for customers while accomplishing these critical upgrades.
  4. Renovating the plant ensures the City can enhance the opportunities for using recycled water, renewable energy and biosolids. *
    San Francisco Bay

    The Water Pollution Control Plant sits on the southern edge of San Francisco Bay

    • Currently, the City uses only a small portion (about a million gallons per day (MGD)) of cleaned wastewater from the plan for non-potable (non-drinking) recycled water uses. But these upgrades will allow the City to recycle even more water for applications that currently use drinking water, such as irrigation.
    • Improvements to the on-site power generating facility will enable the City to continue producing renewable power fueled by the anaerobic digester gas and landfill gas. Heat recovered from the power generating facility will heat the anaerobic digestion process and plant buildings.
    • New biosolids facilities will dewater and potentially further process the biosolids for additional use.

* Biosolids are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility. When treated and processed, these residuals can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.