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Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility

Recycle Water + Repurpose Waste

Most people have some idea about how clean water gets to their house. What they often don't understand is what happens to the used water (aka, wastewater) that's created when washing dishes, flushing toilets, or doing other water-using activities at home or at work.

Petaluma has its own facility, the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, that collects, treats, and then re-uses both the waste and the water that goes into the city sewer.

The Ellis Creek facility blends leading-edge technologies with natural processes to treat five million gallons of the community’s wastewater each day. Learn more about the facility and all the programs associated below.

How the Facility Works

The Ellis Creek facility produces high-quality recycled water through advanced treatment, filtration and ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection. Recycled water is used on-site for landscape irrigation, fire protection, plant-process-water and toilet flushing. Recycled water is used within the City to offset potable water for irrigation of city parks and two golf courses. Recycled water is also used for irrigation of vineyards and other agricultural lands. Methane gas produced in the treatment process is used as fuel for the treatment plant boiler, thus reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Part of the wastewater treatment process is the use of polishing wetlands, which are a low-cost way to use natural treatment processes to remove nutrients and metals from the wastewater. Recycled water has already received two stages of treatment before reaching the wetlands. The wetlands are home to a wide range of wildlife including pelicans, egrets, herons, sandpipers, Red-tailed hawks, western pond turtles and marsh wrens.

Biofuels Project

Part of the Ellis Creek facility is an anaerobic digestion system that produces 150,000 gasoline gallon equivalents of renewable natural gas per year from waste processed at the facility. The fuel is used to power trucks used by the city's waste disposal contractor, Recology.

photo of ellis creek recycling facility


Petaluma has invested in an innovative, efficient water recycling system that is good for residents, good for business, and good for the local environment.

by Leah Walker, Deputy Director, Environmental Services Division

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