Wastewater Treatment Facility


Wastewater Treamtent Facility view 2

Our new public service announcement shows how the Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility provides quality of life service to the community while helping to reduce the City’s carbon footprint and protecting the environment.

Below is a link to a presentation done by Public Works Director, Mark Dettle, at a recent meeting discussing the use of recycled wastewater. It outlines the history and processes of the City's Award Winning Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Wastewater Presentation

We are proud to have won "best in state" from the California Wastewater Environment Association 2013:

Santa Cruz Plant Honored as Best Wastewater Treatment Facility in California. This award acknowledges outstanding achievement in more than 20 categories honoring exceptional California treatment plants, water environment professionals and collection systems. The award combines the results of a review of infrastructure, management practices and compliance records of all entrants into the competition.

EPA Recognizes Santa Cruz WastewaterTreatment Facility for its Green Power Accomplishments

The accomplishments listed below were managed by changing out the Facility lighting. These were the challenges:

  • Reduce the Carbon Footprint -- DONE
  • Increase Security at the Facility -- DONE
  • Cut Lighting costs in half -- DONE

Purpose and Functions (37 Employees)
Organization chart [PDF]

Wastewater Treatment Facility
Operates and maintains a regional wastewater treatment and disposal facility. Wastewater treatment and ocean outfall disposal are provided for the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz County Sanitation District (includes Live Oak, Capitola, Soquel and Aptos). Ocean outfall disposal is provided for the City of Scotts Valley.

Wastewater Source Control
Provides inspection, sampling and monitoring of business and industrial establishments to limit discharge of harmful constituents into the sanitary sewer system and storm drain system. Issues wastewater discharge permits to industrial discharges. Issues citations and levies fines for code violations. This program is a requirement of the State of California and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The City of Santa Cruz has been treating sewage at the wastewater treatment facility near Neary Lagoon and disposing of the effluent in the ocean since 1928. Treatment capacity has been expanded several times to accommodate the growth of the city and the addition of flows from the Santa Cruz County Sanitation District. (Photograph of the modern facility below.) The current rated design capacity is 17 MGD (millions of gallons per day) and with an average daily flow of 10 MGD. Design for wet weather flow is 81 MGD.

View The Wastewater Treatment Facility in 360º Interactive Panorama
Note: These Panoramas are large files (about 370kb each) and will be slow to load on a 56k modem.


Panorama_3 Panorama_4

Major Accomplishments Over the Last 5 Years:

Major Goals:

  • Integrate Energy conservation measures into plant operations.
  • Implement paperless work order system for equipment repair.
  • Ensure the proper and efficient operation of the entire wastewater treatment facility at a level commensurate with a model operation
  • Control odor emissions from the plant as a good neighbor 

Major Upcoming Issues:

  • Implementation of Storm Water Ordinance Best Management Practices and integration of inspections and enforcement for storm water discharges into current wastewater discharge inspection programWastewater Treamtent Facility view 2
  • Review and implement facility optimization goals through the leadership team structure
  • Start up and optimization of Phase II of Odor Master Plan
  • Optimization of effluent purification process
  • Evaluate biosolids processing and disposal

In April 1998, the City completed a secondary biological treatment system consisting of trickling filters/solids contact

tanks to improve effluent quality and satisfy federal requirements and the California Ocean Plan.

   Water Pollution Control Facility Annual Reports
      2015 [PDF]      2011 [PDF] 2010 [PDF] 2009 [PDF] 
      2008 [PDF] 

     2007 [PDF] 

 2006 [PDF] 


                              Pretreatment Program Annual Reports 
         2015 [PDF]             2010 [PDF]

 2009 [PDF]

         2008 [PDF]             2007 [PDF]

 2006 [PDF] 

Annual Dye Study Report [PDF]
Annual Dye Study Report 2013

Additional Reports are filed online at the Electronic Self-Monitoring Report website of the California Integrated Water Quality System. You can find the reports that have been filed at this web link:

California Integrated Water Quality System Reports


For more information contact:
Dan Seidel 
Superintendent of Wastewater Collection and Treatment Facility
831-420-6489 (fax)

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