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Recycled Water

The Sunnyvale Recycled Water Program offers businesses and other customers a drought-proof alternative water source for use in approved applications. The program operates in accordance with all State of California requirements, which are designed to expand the state’s water resources in a manner that fully protects public health and the environment.

  • Wastewater treated at the Water Pollution Control Plant is diverted from discharge into San Francisco Bay and provided additional treatment.
  • Recycled water is distributed through a separate underground piping system and used for non-potable purposes, including the irrigation of private and public landscaping, parks and golf courses, flushing of toilets and other approved uses at discounted rates.
  • The City, in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Water District, has expanded its recycled water pipeline network, which now extends to the new Apple Park campus, and may serve additional customers.

Is recycled water safe?

Yes. Recycled water is not intended for direct human consumption, but incidental contact with it poses no threat to public health. Water recycling is a safe way to preserve our natural water resources. Water recycling and reuse have been actively practiced by sanitation districts since 1962. The City of Sunnyvale began providing recycled water in 1999.

Water reclamation plants are permitted to function, under specific guidelines, by the State of California Department of Public Health, the California Water Resources Control Board, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The plants produce a highly treated, filtered and disinfected product that meets the State Health Department criteria.

Water reclamation plants are operated by wastewater plant operators licensed by the State of California. Many safeguards are incorporated into every plant, and the recycled water they produce is rigorously tested to meet or exceed national, state and local regulatory standards (even many of those for drinking water).

All State and Federal permits and regulations, along with Operator Certifications, are available upon request by email to the Water Distribution Supervisor.

Will recycled water be used as a source of drinking water?

Recycled water delivered through Sunnyvale’s system is not intended for drinking.

Proposed regulations in California would allow recycled water to be used as a supplemental source for drinking water, but only under specific conditions.

Last Updated: Jun 25, 2021