After completing less than 24 hours of treatment, the recycled water is ready for reuse. Water is sent to many holding ponds, storing 1.5 billion gallons, or a three month supply. These ponds are rich with Sonoma County wildlife, including a wide variety of waterfowl.
Agriculture Reuse: For over 30 years, agriculture has had success using recycled water for irrigation. Currently, 6,000 acres are irrigated growing hay, pasture, vegetables, wine grapes, and turf.
Recycled water provides created (or man-made) wetlands with a year-round water supply. Created wetlands offer habitat for many species of birds, amphibians, and mammals, and an opportunity for people to observe these wetland inhabitants. The same microorganisms used at the Treatment Plant during Secondary Treatment also live in wetlands, naturally improving water quality.
Recycled water is used to irrigate parks, school yards, and landscape areas, including Sonoma State University, A Place to Play, and Finley Park.
Geysers Recharge Project
The Geysers Recharge Project began operations in 2003 and pumps an average of 11 million gallons of recycled water a day to the Geysers steamfields, high in the Mayacamas Mountains. Here, the largest geothermal operation in the world injects the water into the earth, making enough electricity (or green power) for up to 85,000 households in the North Bay Area.
From October to May, the water may be discharged into the Laguna de Santa Rosa, which flows to the Russian River. Discharge is permitted for up to 5 percent of the river’s flow. The Geysers Recharge Project has significantly reduced the amount of discharge.