An image of the Clovis water treatment plant

Recycled Water FAQs

FAQs About the Clovis Recycled Water Project

To provide for wastewater treatment for new growth areas in the City, the City evaluated either buying more capacity at the Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility in Fresno or constructing a new facility in the City of Clovis. Due to costs and the ability to reuse the treated wastewater in the City, it was decided that it was in the best interest of the City to construct a new facility. 

The Water Reuse Project will allow the City to efficiently utilize its water resources. The supply of potable water is limited and additional supply is expensive. The utilization of recycled water will reduce the demand for potable water. 

The amount of potable water offset by recycled water use will grow over time as additional landscape areas are built or converted to recycled water use. Within the first phase of project development, the quantity will be up to 2,913 acre feet annually. 

City public landscape will be the main user of recycled water. Other users will be Caltrans (for freeway landscaping and potentially school landscapes) and California State University Fresno. Large landscapes that are publicly maintained will be the primary initial users. 

The distribution system to deliver the recycled water is being constructed with new development that is adjacent to the primary transmission mains. The primary transmission mains are located generally on the east side of the City. 

The public landscape areas for developments that are proximate to the main transmission lines will utilize recycled water. Individual homes will not utilize recycled water. 

The cost for recycled water has not been determined yet, but will most likely be less than the cost of potable water. 

The plant includes an administration building, a headworks building, a membrane bioreactor structure, a pump station building, and a 3.1 million gallon recycled water storage tank. 

The plant will utilize state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technologies. A membrane bioreactor will integrate liquid treatment and ultrafiltration solids separation, providing for enhanced treatment that will yield high-quality reuse water. Ultraviolet disinfection will be provided for pathogen destruction. 

The plant has been designed to minimize odors from operations. The bioreactors and headworks are covered and the air is scrubbed by a biofilter prior to release. 

There should be no noticeable odor coming from the recycled water. 

This project will have no effect on residents that do not currently have City sewer or water service.

There is no onsite disposal or storage of untreated wastewater. 

No. Recycled water will be applied at rates which are appropriate for the landscape and plant needs. It will not be over applied. 

The recycled water system is being designed such that the peak demands in the system will be met by the maximum output of the treatment plant. Since the peak recycled water demands occur during the summer months (usually in July), there will be excess recycled water during the rest of the year.

FAQs About Recycled Water

Recycled water is highly treated wastewater that has been purified through multiple levels of treatment to meet the stringent health standards set by the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hundreds of communities throughout California are using recycled water. Approved and common uses include: 

  • Irrigation of parks and playgrounds, golf courses, freeway landscaping, and residential common areas 
  • Commercial toilet and urinal flushing 
  • Industrial processing 
  • Industrial and commercial cooling or air-conditioning 
  • Commercial laundries 
  • Decorative fountains 
  • Lake recharge 

Yes. Recycled water must meet stringent regulatory requirements monitored by the State Department of Public Health 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. Recycled water to be utilized for the City of Clovis’ Water Reuse Project will be monitored and tested daily to ensure that it consistently meets these high quality standards. 

Recycled water systems have been operating in California and throughout the nation since the early 1960s. Recycled water is used in more than 1,600 individual parks, playgrounds, and schoolyard sites throughout the United States. 

More than 1,600 sites in 11 states are using recycled water, including 160 cities in California. Recycled water is currently being used throughout southern California in communities such as San Diego, Irvine, Orange, and Los Angeles counties. In California’s North Bay Area, Daly City, Oakland, Alameda, Santa Rosa, Windsor, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and San Jose are among the communities that are using this valuable resource. 

Recycled water is used in many ways and in many states across the country. In Arizona, Texas, Virginia, and Florida, recycled water is added and blended with water sources in reservoirs and underground storage basins that are used as drinking water supplies. Globally, Israel, Jordan, and Australia are considered leaders in the use of recycled water. 

The recycled water quality will be monitored by treatment plant personnel daily to ensure that rigid water quality standards are continually met. 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. Additionally, proper application of recycled water for the City’s Water Reuse Project will be ensured through implementation of Best Management Practices, appropriate signage and markings, cross-connection testing, and control of overspray and runoff at irrigation sites.

Recycled Water Glossary of Terms

CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) – State law that requires state, local, and other agencies to evaluate the environmental implications of their actions. 

CTR (California Toxics Rule) – Federal regulation setting water quality criteria (limits) for heavy metals and other toxic compounds for the protection of beneficial uses of surface waters in California. 

Environmental Impact Report (EIR) – A report required by the California Environmental Quality Act to describe the environmental impact of a proposed project. 

EIR Certification – EIR adoption by a governing agency accepting the document as being complete and adequate according to the California Environmental Quality Act. 

Graywater – Water that has been used for showering, clothes washing, and faucet uses. Kitchen sink and toilet water are excluded. 

Infrastructure – Physical structures that form the foundation for development. Infrastructure includes: wastewater and water works, electric power, communications, transit and transportation facilities, and oil and gas pipelines and associated facilities. 

MG – million gallons. 

Master Plan – A comprehensive plan to guide the long-term physical development of a particular area. 

NPDES (The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit) – Controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. 

Reclamation – The operation or process of changing the condition or characteristics of wastewater so that additional uses of the water can be achieved. 

Recycled Water – The California Water Code defines recycled water as “water which, as a result of treatment of waste, is suitable for a direct beneficial use or a controlled use that would not otherwise occur.” Regulations allow water managers to match water quality to specific reuse applications. This reduces the amount of fresh water required for non-potable uses, ensuring that the best and purest sources of water will be reserved for public drinking water. 

RWQCB (Regional Water Quality Control Board) – Regulating agency for water quality issues in this area. 

Tertiary (or Advanced Water) Treatment – Removes specific contaminants to meet California’s standard for unrestricted use of recycled water. Usually the process occurs after secondary and primary treatments. 

Title 22 – The California Department of Health Services establishes water and treatment reliability criteria for water recycling under Title 22, Chapter 4, of the California Code of Regulations. 

Wastewater – The used water and solids that flow to a treatment plant. Storm water, surface water, and groundwater infiltration also may be included in the wastewater that enters a plant.

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