Water Resources and ConservationDepartment Home

Recycled Water

Petaluma began using recycled water in 1976, when a local farmer demonstrated that recycled water could be used to successfully irrigate a range of crops, including barley, wheat, oats, forage mix, Sudan grass, and silage corn, under local soil and climatic conditions. This early effort laid the groundwork for the City’s extensive recycled water program.

In 1984, the City initiated an extensive water recycling program in response to the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board’s order prohibiting the City from introducing treated effluent into the Petaluma River from May 1 through October 20. The program included irrigation of 550 acres of agricultural land. Each participating landowner successfully converted their lands from dry native rangeland to irrigated permanent pasture, primarily through cultivation and re-seeding of the lands. Landowners have installed fencing and cross-fencing to segregate fields and manage livestock. The fencing prevents livestock and machinery from entering recently irrigated fields before they dry.

Since then, the City has added two golf courses and a vineyard. The City’s future program is presented in the General Plan 2025, and includes using recycled water to irrigate City parks, schools and fields that are currently irrigated with potable water. This will save potable water for its highest and best uses, supplement that City’s water supply, and support the City’s need to comply with regulatory requirements.


Annual Amount of Recycled Water Produced: 708 million gallons
Year Began Water Recycling: 1984
Recycled Water Uses: golf courses, agriculture, vineyard. At the Ellis Creek Water Recycling Facility, tertiary recycled water is used for process water, landscape irrigation, toilet flushing and fire protection.
Drinking Water Savings Through Use of Recycled Water: 400 million gallons per year (equal to amount of water used by 3,700 homes on an annual basis)



Contact Information

Director, Public Works and Utilities
Dan St. John, F.ASCE
202 N. McDowell Blvd
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone: 707-778-4546
Fax: 707.206.6034
Email: dstjohn@ci.petaluma.ca.us

Administrative Offices
202 North McDowell Blvd.
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone: 707.778.4546
Fax: 707.206.6034
Email: water@ci.petaluma.ca.us
Hours: 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Monday - Friday

Utility Billing
11 English Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone: 707.778.4350
Hours: 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.
Monday – Thursday

Water, Sewer, or Storm Water Emergency
Phone: 707.778.4546

Water Conservation
Phone: 707.778.4507
Email: conservation@ci.petaluma.ca.us

Report Water Waste

Field Office
202 N. McDowell
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone: 707.776.3777