Environmental Services

Protecting Public Health and the Environment


Santa Rosa Water supports and directs regulatory compliance activities to protect the public health of our community as well as air, water and land resources to safeguard the natural environment.

Water Quality

The Subregional System must manage the treatment, reuse and disposal of recycled water in compliance with local, state and federal laws, rules and regulations. The primary laws, rules and regulations that must be met when operating our recycled water reuse system and constructing new projects include the following:

Basin Plan
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board's (Regional Water Board) Basin Plan establishes limits on reuse and disposal of recycled water such that public health and aquatic life are protected. The Basin Plan establishes a limit on how much and when recycled water can be discharged to the Russian River.

Reclamation System Permit 
The Regional Water Board also issues a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) discharge permit to the City of Santa Rosa which establishes inspection, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the use of recycled water. It also sets forth wastewater treatment, industrial pretreatment, and biosolids requirements, such that the Basin Plan polices and other federal and state water quality regulations are attained. The permit also contains provisions that limit how much and when recycled water can be discharged to the Russian River.
Title 22 Recycled Water Regulations
The California Department of Health Services regulates and permits the use of recycled water according to the level of treatment that the recycled water has received. Santa Rosa's recycled water is disinfected and receives tertiary treatment, the highest level of treatment recognized by Title 22. As a result, reuse of this high quality recycled water is subject to the least restrictions.
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Air Quality

The Subregional System manages its operations to reduce pollutant emissions in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) rules and regulations. 

Additionally, Santa Rosa Water aims to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and pollutant emissions by generating its own energy. Santa Rosa Water currently produces 20% of its electricity demand by using 100% of digester gas produced at the Laguna Treatment Plant to generate about 7.8 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year using combined heat and power engines. Santa Rosa Water has also installed solar voltaic arrays to generate 650,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, which are used to power lighting, pumps and equipment.
Combined Heat and Power facility
Solar voltaic System at Alpha Farm

Endangered Species

The Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides protection to threatened endangered and rare plant and animal species. The Laguna de Santa Rosa is home to several animal and plant species protected by the ESA. To protect these endangered species ongoing operations and potential future projects of the Subregional System are conducted in compliance with the ESA and other state regulations. Protected plants and animals in the Santa Rosa area include vernal pool plants, salmonid fish, California freshwater shrimp, and northern spotted owl.

Other Agencies and Regulations
Wetlands streams and riparian habitat, and artifacts of historical or prehistorical significance are among the resources that are protected by regulations with which the Subregional System must comply.