The first shovels will hit the ground at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 24 at 10:45 a.m. to mark the start of construction on a new sewage sludge processing plant that will allow the current sludge burning incinerators to be decommissioned. The public is invited to the groundbreaking that will happen at the Regional Water Quality Control plant at 2501 Embarcadero Way. Short tours of the incinerators will be available right before the groundbreaking.
The existing incinerators are one of the largest sources of Greenhouse Gas emissions in Palo Alto, and their discontinuation is an important component of the City's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan to control global warming.
The new facility will be used to load trucks with dewatered sludge, which will then be hauled to a regional facility for further treatment, which may involve composting, gasification and anaerobic digestion. Palo Alto will be sharing the total cost of the project, estimated at around $30 million with other surrounding cities and Stanford who are currently served by the Regional Water Quality Control Plant, and will reimburse the City for their share of the cost. The City will be responsible for a little more than a third of the cost. The RWQCP cleans about 20 million gallons of wastewater a day, with the highly treated water going to San Francisco Bay, the Renzel wetlands, golf courses and other landscaping.
The City hopes to have construction of the new facility completed by summer 2019.
There will also be longer, 45-minute tours of the entire (25 acres) Regional Water Quality Control Plant immediately after the ceremony for those wishing to attend. To schedule a tour, contact Megan Batista at (650) 329-2396. For information about the project, contact Jamie Allen at (650) 329-2243.