New Regional San Upgrade Virtually Eliminates Ammonia in Sacramento Region’s Wastewater

Aug 05, 2021

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District has completed a significant upgrade to its wastewater treatment facility that serves the Sacramento region. The new Biological Nutrient Removal project (BNR) is now operational, virtually eliminating ammonia from the region’s treated wastewater.

“At Regional San, we take seriously our mission to protect public health and the environment,” said Prabhakar Somavarapu, General Manager at Regional San. “This project benefits the ecosystem and millions of Californians who rely on the Sacramento River as a water source—a clear demonstration of our ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.”

BNR Facts:

  • The 39-acre BNR site is the heart of the EchoWater Project, a multi-year undertaking that will cost about $1.7 billion and will upgrade Regional San’s wastewater treatment to advanced level.
  • The new BNR treatment facility is the size of 18 football fields and normally treats about 130 million gallons per day but can treat as much as 330 million gallons of wastewater a day in winter months.
  • The project removes more than 99% of ammonia from the Sacramento region’s wastewater.
  • The BNR site consists of eight large basins lined with thousands of tubes that release oxygen into the wastewater. The oxygen supports bacteria, which remove most of the organic matter and nearly all of the ammonia from the wastewater.

Patrick Pulupa, Executive Officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, said the EchoWater Project stems from a state mandate at the end of 2010 that set stringent new treatment standards for Regional San—among the toughest standards of any facility nationwide.

“The 2010 water quality permit required Regional San to upgrade their treatment process to very cutting-edge standards. Their engineers met with regulators and came up with the EchoWater Project, which does an incredible job of protecting environmental resources and downstream drinking water,” said Pulupa.

The EchoWater Project is on schedule to be complete by 2023. Customer rates to pay for the EchoWater Project are about half of what was originally projected. Regional San secured low-interest financing from the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund and implemented many other cost-saving measures.

Learn more about the project on the BNR Fact Sheet and the BNR video news release.


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