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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sonoma's Recycled Water Storage Project

By Brad Sherwood
The Sonoma County Water Agency which manages the Sonoma Valley County Sanitation District will increase recycled water storage capacity by constructing the Reservoir 5 Project (north of and adjacent to the District’s treatment plant located at 22675 8th Street East, Sonoma, CA. Reservoir 5 will expand the District’s recycled water storage by 37 million gallons – the District currently stores approximately 200 million gallons in four existing storage reservoirs. This increased capacity is necessary to enhance the District’s ability to utilize recycled water for irrigation purposes.

Reservoir 5 will cost $2.3 million and is being financed by $600,000 in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) funding through the North Bay Water Reuse Authority (Authority). The Authority includes five local agencies in the North San Pablo Bay region, including the Water Agency, formed to put recycled water to its broadest and most beneficial use. The remaining $1.3 million is financed through the District’s Capital Improvement Plan. Construction activities began earlier this month and Reservoir 5 is slated for completion in December 2011. Ford Construction of Lodi, CA was selected to construct Reservoir 5 and it is estimated to create 10 jobs during the construction phase.

During the dry weather months of May through October, the District currently provides recycled water to users including vineyards, dairies, and pasturelands. The existing users are located in the southern end of Sonoma Valley, southeast of Schellville in the Carneros region. The District currently has four recycled water reservoirs that store recycled water until it can be used for irrigation.

Reservoir 5’s additional 37 million gallons provides operational flexibility and irrigation capacity which will allow the District to continue to:
• Reduce the discharge of treated wastewater into Schell Slough and San Pablo Bay
• Provide recycled water in compliance with federal and state regulations
• Offset peak water demand in Sonoma Valley
• Offset groundwater use for potable or agricultural purposes that may be stressing aquifer conditions in some areas of Sonoma Valley

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