San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility Master Plan Wins Environmental Excellence Award from the American Planning Association Northern California Chapter

Second APA Distinction Award for RWF Master Plan in Three Months

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility received a second award of excellence from the American Planning Association Northern California for the RWF Plant Master Plan, a 30-year roadmap for rebuilding the 60-year-old wastewater facility that protects the environment and economy of the South Bay.

The APA Northern California Chapter presented the Award of Merit for Innovation in Green Community Planning to the San José Environmental Services Department last Friday, June 10, at its 2016 awards ceremony.

“I’m delighted to receive another award of excellence on behalf of our staff and our community who worked hard to create a long-term master plan that is both visionary and practical,” said Kerrie Romanow, director of the San José Environmental Services Department.

“This Master Plan will guide us through the next three decades as we rebuild our wastewater treatment facility that is essential to protect our community’s public health and the South Bay’s environment, while supporting the Silicon Valley economy.”

In April, the APA also awarded its prestigious National Planning Achievement Award for Environmental Planning to ESD for the RWF Master Plan.

The RWF Master Plan was the result of a three-year planning effort that utilized sustainability principles and included the participation from residents and businesses, cities, special districts, and environmental groups to develop the plan. The city councils of San José and Santa Clara, which jointly own the Regional Wastewater Facility, formally adopted the plan in November 2013, and significant construction has already begun on the rebuilding program.

Operated by the San José Environmental Services Department, the RWF is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the western United States. Operating around the clock since 1956, the RWF treats about 110 million gallons of wastewater daily that is then discharged into the waters of southern San Francisco Bay. The treated wastewater helps keep the Bay clean and supports a diverse ecosystem of birds, fish, and habitat. The RWF consistently meets 100 percent of its state and federal discharge permit requirements.

Selected projects from the RWF Master Plan have already been incorporated into the RWF’s 10-year $1.4 billion Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Replacing obsolete wastewater infrastructure from the 1950s with more efficient and modern technologies will continue the facility’s vital role in protecting public health and the environment.

The Master Plan also calls for increased restoration efforts that will create an additional 1,170 acres of riparian, salt marsh, and wetland habitat for wildlife and plant species under special status, such as the Western Burrowing Owl, Congdon’s Tarplant, and the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse.

About San José Environmental Services Department (ESD) and the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility
San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest city in Northern California and the tenth largest city in the nation. The San José Environmental Services Department manages garbage and recycling services; watershed protection and pollution prevention; municipal drinking water and recycled water; sustainability initiatives; and the operation and infrastructure improvements of the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. With a mission to deliver world class utility services and programs to improve our health, environment, and economy; the department is committed to being a leader in combating climate change at the local government level. Find more information at

The Regional Wastewater Facility is jointly owned by the cities of San José and Santa Clara with the San José Environmental Services Department serving as the operator and administrator. It serves more than 1.4 million residents and over 100,000 businesses in eight Silicon Valley cities including San José, Santa Clara, Milpitas, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Monte Sereno.

The Regional Wastewater Facility also manages the South Bay Water Recycling program, delivering highly treated recycled water to 700 customers in San José, Santa Clara, and Milpitas, which saves over 2.2 billion gallons of drinking water a year. The RWF also provides 10 million gallons daily of treated wastewater to the Santa Clara Valley Water District Silicon Valley Water Purification Center as part of an innovative clean water demonstration project.

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