EBMUD's wastewater treatment plant provides an invaluable public service for 685,000 people along the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. Sewage flows through city pipes that empty into the EBMUD collection system that delivers it to the wastewater treatment plant at the base of the Bay Bridge where it is treated.
Today, the plant treats sewage to meet stringent state and federal standards before recycling it or releasing it to the Bay. Prior to its existence, raw sewage was discharged directly into the Bay, posing serious water quality and health problems. EBMUD has received many honors and awards for its efforts to protect public health and keep pollutants from reaching the Bay, and partners with residents and businesses to help them keep contaminants out of sewers and the Bay.
EBMUD has been recycling, reusing, and producing renewable energy at its wastewater plant since the mid-1980s. The main goal of wastewater treatment is an important one - to protect public health and the environment. To do this, EBMUD collects and treats sewage. EBMUD's plant does even more. It transforms sewage and other organic wastes into green energy, nutrient-rich soil conditioner and recycled water.
Many large wastewater plants produce renewable energy to meet a portion of their power demand. EBMUD supplements wastewater solids with high-strength organic waste, such as food scraps. The result? EBMUD produces more than enough renewable energy to meet all onsite power demands.
The solids that are removed, or biosolids, undergo a separate treatment process. See the Biosolids Program page for more information.
Wastewater from East Bay communities flows to EBMUD's wastewater treatment plant in Oakland near the entrance of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. See the online tour below to get a better sense of how the treatment process works. EBMUD provides secondary treatment for a maximum flow of 168 million gallons per day (MGD). Primary treatment is provided for up to 320 MGD. Storage basins provide plant capacity for a short-term hydraulic peak of 415 MGD. On average, about 63 million gallons of wastewater is treated every day.
EBMUD's laboratory analyzes samples of treated wastewater; the tests range from cyanide, metals, and polychlorinated biphenlys (PCBs) to bioassays using juvenile fish. The treated water is chlorinated for disinfection, then dechlorinated to protect marine life before being discharged underwater one mile off the East Bay shore into San Francisco Bay.