Water Recycling

Water Recycling Program

Reusing our highly treated wastewater for beneficial non-potable uses


Recycled water is treated wastewater that has undergone additional filtration and disinfection processes to make the water safe for non-potable (non-drinking) uses. Since April 2003, Regional San’s cutting-edge Water Recycling Program (WRP) has provided an environmentally responsible and safe water supply for non-potable purposes, such as landscape irrigation, industrial uses, and environmental restoration.

A Successful Partnership

The WRP is a partnership between Regional San and the Sacramento County Water Agency (SCWA). Regional San provides recycled water treatment and monitors recycled water quality, while SCWA distributes recycled water to customers and monitors recycled water use.

Regional San’s water recycling facility is located on the property of the EchoWater Resource Recovery Facility near Elk Grove. Currently, the WRP provides up to 3.5 million gallons per day of recycled water to neighboring parks, landscaped street medians and commercial and school sites in the Laguna West, Lakeside and Stone Lakes developments.

Benefits of Recycled Water

Increased use of recycled water can reduce the region’s dependence on precious groundwater and surface water supplies, especially during drought periods and times of high potable water demand and low supply. Given these important benefits of water recycling, it’s easy to see why Regional San is committed to water recycling. Moreover, once major treatment plant upgrades are completed, all of Regional San’s treated effluent (about 130 million gallons per day) will meet the standards for recycled water, thereby significantly expanding its potential use. (Visit EchoWater Project for more information on the plant upgrades.)

Smart and Safe

Recycled water treated at Regional San’s water recycling facility meets and exceeds the California Department of Health Services’ most stringent irrigation requirements for recycled water. There has never been a documented health-related problem traced back to recycled water when used in accordance with state guidelines.

  • California’s recycled water standards are among the most stringent in the world.
  • Tertiary treated recycled water is virtually pathogen-free.
  • Recycled water is treated to a level very close to drinking water quality.

Program Goals

In January 2004, Regional San’s Board of Directors approved the concept for a large-scale WRP, which includes the following goals:

  • Increase water recycling throughout the Sacramento region on the scale of 30 to 40 million gallons per day over the next 20 years.
  • Increase utilization of recycled water to expand Regional San’s effluent management options beyond continued discharge to the Sacramento River.
  • Increase utilization of recycled water to meet growing non-potable demands, allowing Sacramento area water purveyors to reduce demands on their existing potable water supplies and reduce the need for additional water supplies in the future.

Water Recycling Program 10-Year Update Report Released

Regional San’s10-Year Update Report details the progress the District has made between 2004 and 2014 in efforts to advance its various water recycling programs and projects.

The report fulfills a number of objectives. First, it updates and summarizes our activities related to the water recycling program over the last 10 years. It confirms Regional San’s commitment to water recycling in the Sacramento region and provides additional awareness, education and acceptance of the program to stakeholders and ratepayers. It also provides information for stakeholders who are potentially interested in participating in the expansion of the Water Recycling Program. And finally, the report strives to build consensus and understanding for the need to increase production of water recycling in the region.

General Information

Recycled Water at-a-Glance

Why it makes sense: 

  • Increased use of water recycling reduces the region’s dependence on groundwater and surface water supplies for non-potable water uses.
  • Water recycling provides an environmentally responsible and safe water supply for environmental restoration projects, such as wetlands.
  • Water recycling can also help with Clean Water Act compliance and meeting future discharge regulations.

Why it’s safe:

  • Recycled water is delivered through purple pipes that are completely separate from the potable (drinking) water p ipes.
  • Routine inspections are conducted to ensure no cross connection between potable water pipes and recycled water pipes has occurred.
  • The water recycling facility and distribution system are monitored continuously.
  • Regional San’s recycled water facility is designed to provide the highest possible degree of treatment under varying circumstances.

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