Leaders from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco District and East Bay Municipal Utility District signed a milestone project partnership agreement today paving the way for construction of the first recycled water pipeline to serve Alameda.
The project is boosted by $3.2 million in federal funds appropriated through the Army Corps’ Environmental Infrastructure Assistance Program. The program, authorized through Section 219 of the 1992 Water Resources Development Act, provides planning, design and construction assistance for water and sewer-related environmental infrastructure projects for communities throughout the United States. Congressional leaders, including Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Alex Padilla, and the late Senator Dianne Feinstein helped push for funding for the project as part of federal spending efforts.
“We’re thrilled to secure this federal investment for East Bay communities and proud to partner once again with EBMUD,” said Maj. Shantel Glass, USACE San Francisco District deputy district commander, who, alongside EBMUD Board President Lesa McIntosh, signed the agreement during an official ceremony on Friday, January 26, at Bohol Circle Immigrant Park in Alameda. “We all know how critical these recycled water projects are to local communities as they look to modernize their infrastructure in the face of climate change.”
The project aims to repurpose a half mile of 1940s-era cast iron potable water pipeline below the Oakland-Alameda Estuary that EBMUD replaced in April 2023. With that new earthquake-resistant waterline now in service, USACE and EBMUD will begin work to repurpose the old pipe to deliver 500,000 gallons daily of recycled water to Alameda for irrigation and industrial uses; a housing development at Bohol Circle Immigration Park already is plumbed with tell-tale purple meter boxes to receive recycled water.
“This project provides a phenomenal opportunity for local and federal government to provide a creative solution that supports sustainable water supplies in California,” said EBMUD Board President Lesa R. McIntosh. “As climate change disrupts historic weather patterns, we must use every drop of the natural water cycle. Recycled water lets us use this natural resource three times: first as natural rainfall, second when we drink the water we’ve captured, and third as recycled water for our landscapes and industries.”
This is an important expansion to EBMUD’s 16-year-old East Bayshore Recycled Water Project at the EBMUD Wastewater Treatment Plant near the foot of the Bay Bridge, which serves approximately 200,000 gallons daily to parts of Oakland and Emeryville.
“This is an exciting moment for the residents and businesses in the City of Alameda,” said EBMUD Director Doug Linney. “This new access to recycled water puts Alameda in a position to lead the fight against climate change by reducing its water consumption footprint, on top of receiving a new potable water pipeline last year to ensure reliable service in the future. I’d say it’s a great day to live on this island by the bay.”
This is the second time USACE and EBMUD have partnered on a Section 219-funded project. In 2010, the two agencies wrapped up construction of a new pump station and pipeline along Bollinger Canyon Road in San Ramon. The project was part of the San Ramon Valley Recycled Water Program, which supplies recycled water to more than 60 EBMUD customer sites, including parks, greenbelts, schools, common area landscapes and golf courses.
In total, EBMUD customers use 9 million gallons daily (MGD) of recycled water with the goal of reaching 20 MGD by 2040.
“Communities across California are facing unprecedented water challenges. I am proud to have secured the federal funds necessary to help enhance the East Bayshore Recycled Water Project. In the face of aging infrastructure and the climate crisis worsening water access, this type of federal investment and project will help ensure a more sustainable future by expanding access to recycled water and producing high paying jobs in our community,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.