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September 24, 2014  |  Written by Kelley M. Taber

Regional San Approves Sacramento Region’s Largest Public Infrastructure Project

The Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District (Regional San) today approved the region’s largest public infrastructure project, a nearly $2 billion upgrade to the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant that will improve water quality in the Sacramento River and Delta, and expand opportunities for recycled water use.  Regional San’s approval of the EchoWater Project marks the end of more than a decade of conflict and negotiation between south of Delta water agencies, state agencies and Regional San over the water quality effects of the regional plant’s discharge to the Sacramento River.  Designed to comply with strict new water quality permit requirements, the EchoWater project will add new tertiary treatment processes that will more effectively remove ammonia, nitrates and pathogens from the plant discharge.

Regional San serves more than 1.4 million people, treating the entire Sacramento region’s wastewater at the regional plant near Elk Grove.  The cleaned water is then discharged into the Sacramento River.  The existing plant was built in the late 1970s and became fully operational in 1982.  Regional San currently treats wastewater to a “secondary” level before discharging to the Sacramento River.  The path to EchoWater project approval required navigating a complex and evolving series of legal, scientific and policy challenges.  To meet the new permit regulations, Regional San will upgrade the plant to include a number of treatment actions:

  • Removal of ammonia and nitrates
  • Filtration to remove very small particles and pathogens
  • Higher level of disinfection to inactivate even more pathogens

Construction of the EchoWater project is anticipated to commence in early 2015, with full commissioning by 2023.  Somach Simmons & Dunn attorneys represent Regional San in the permitting and environmental review of the EchoWater Project.  For more information about the EchoWater project permitting and approval process, contact Kelley Taber at 916-446-7979 or

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