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How Redwood City is using purple pipe and recycled water to keep lawns green


Redwood City has been using recycled water to irrigate city-owned land for years, but now the city has extended the offering to commercial business and residents.

Area businesses are able to access the recycled water via purple hydrants located throughout the city. Each business is provided a meter to calculate its use, and is charged accordingly.  However, residents are able to access up to 300 gallons of they recycled water, each day for free. After completing a training course, residents can head down to the city’s corporation yard, with their own bucket or barrel to access the water from a large tank. Most residents are using this water as a way to help keep their lawns and flowers alive during this drought.

The water comes from Silicon Valley Clean Water’s wastewater plant located in Redwood Shores. The recycled water is produced by boosting wastewater treatment with additional filtration and disinfection to meet State of California regulations. The water is able to be used for a variety of non-potable uses.

Redwood City’s Recycled Water Project was first introduced to the community in 2000, as a small pilot project. In 2004, the city council approved an expansion of the recycled water system, adding two tertiary treatment facilities, two 2.2 million gallon storage tanks, a distribution pump station, and 17 miles of distribution pipelines.  Since pumping began in 2007, the Recycled Water Project has helped save hundreds of millions of gallons of drinking water each year.

Now the city is evaluating construction methods for bringing the purple pipeline across the 101 Highway, to the west side of the city so that the recycled water would be available to the newly constructed downtown offices and the proposed site of Stanford’s future Redwood City campus.

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