Wastewater Facilities & Infrastructure
As a nationally-recognized industry leader in wastewater management, the City of Fresno provides high-quality collection, treatment, and reclamation services to preserve the environment and ensure the health, safety, and economic vitality of the community.
One way we manage our water supply is by treating and reusing the water that we use. The greater Fresno area has an abundance of wastewater—water that has been used for washing, flushing, or that has found its way down the drain one way or another.
The City of Fresno owns and maintains the sanitary sewer collection system that serves the City and other participating agencies. The City’s collection system (sewer) and all related infrastructure are maintained by the Collection System Maintenance (CSM) workgroup of the Wastewater Management Division.
The collection system is comprised of approximately 1,600 miles of pipes ranging from 4” to 84” in diameter that convey approximately 68 million gallons of sanitary sewer per day to the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF). Related infrastructure maintained by the CSM workgroup includes over 24,000 access structures (manholes) and 15 sewer lift stations.
CSM operators perform preventive maintenance and repair of the collection system on a daily basis, main line condition assessment and repairs, and the inspection of new connections to the sanitary sewer system main lines. CSM staff responds to sewer emergencies 24/7, 365 days per year.
Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility
The Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility (RWRF) is located at Jensen and Cornelia in southwest Fresno. Wastewater generated from homes and businesses in the Fresno/Clovis metro area travels through 1,600 miles of sanitary sewer lines to the facility.
The RWRF is a biological, secondary level treatment plant, treating about 68 million gallons per day (mgd) of wastewater – enough to cover the area of a football field more than 15 stories high. The RWRF produces water of secondary treatment level that meets Title 22 California Code of Regulations and can be used to irrigate fields with alfalfa, silage corn, Sudangrass and other fiber crops not used for human consumption. Approximately 12%-15% of the total acre-feet of wastewater that is treated at the reclamation facility goes for direct reuse to farmers leasing land within the RWRF boundaries or to neighboring farmers. The rest is sent to 1,700 acres of ponds to percolate into the ground.
Up to 5 million gallons of wastewater per day is also treated to disinfected tertiary recycled water standards as defined by Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations. This recycled water can be used for farming or landscape irrigation.
Highly trained, experienced, State-certified treatment plant operators employed by the City of Fresno are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to oversee treatment plant processes, and to react promptly to any situations that may arise. Many controls of treatment processes are highly automated, requiring a great deal of technical expertise. Other processes require manual controls which rely on the operators’ frequent physical presence to observe conditions and make adjustments.
Reliability at the Fresno/Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility is very high. Critical treatment processes are designed with redundant equipment, which means that if a mechanical or electrical component fails, a spare is waiting to take its place. Mechanical and electrical staff members are on-call 24 hours a day in case of a failure that requires their immediate assistance. Maintenance staff aggressively cares for the equipment to predict and prevent breakdowns, further adding to the reliability of the facility.
A network of reclamation wells extracts water from the “mound” underneath the percolation pond area and discharges that water into Fresno Irrigation District canals that will be used for irrigation of farmland downstream from the treatment plant. The City also offers an Extraction Well Water Program that provides residential and commercial customers with the ability to collect extraction well water at a fill station located at the RWRF.
A Place Birds Call Home
The Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility is home to hundreds of birds that live in about 1,700 acres of percolation ponds. These ponds are habitats for many migratory birds that breed, nest, feed and raise their young at the facility.
Members of the Fresno Audubon Society visit the reclamation facility regularly to watch water birds including Mallards, Pin-Tailed Ducks, Canadian Geese, American Avocets and Green-Winged Teals. While driving through the RWRF you may spot Red-Tailed Hawks scanning the scene from posts and trees or Burrowing Owls making the ponding area their home. Cattle Egrets and Herrings can also be found near the facility’s clarifiers.
For more information, call (559) 621-5100
The City of Fresno Department of Public Utilities Wastewater Management Division offers tours of the Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility to members of the public year-round. These tours are open to schools, organizations, and individuals interested in learning more about the division and the work they do to the benefit of City of Fresno residents.
Tours are available by appointment and generally take place on weekdays (excluding holidays) between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Accommodations for tours outside of these hours would need to be approved by the facility.
For inquiries about facility tours please contact [email protected].
The RWRF’s current Wastewater Discharge Requirements (Order R5-2018-0080) can be found on the State Water Resources Control Board web page.
North Fresno Water Reclamation Facility
The North Fresno Water Reclamation Facility (NFWRF) treats domestic and commercial wastewater from Copper River Ranch, a 760-acre community development, plus flows generated from approximately 160-acres of neighboring residential/commercial area south of Copper Avenue.
The NFWRF is designed to treat up to a monthly average of 0.71 mgd and a daily maximum of 1.07 mgd of municipal wastewater to disinfected tertiary recycled water standards as defined by Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations (Title 22). The advanced treated wastewater is used for landscaping the Copper River Country Club and Golf Course.
Copper River Ranch, LLC, built the WWRF and transferred ownership and operation to the City of Fresno on 25 November 2008. The Consolidated Land Company and Consolidated Industries, Inc., own and operate the Copper River Country Club golf course where treated effluent from the WWRF is discharged.
The NFWRF’s current Waste Discharge Requirements (Order R5-2014-0162) can be found on the State Water Resources Control Board web page.
Wastewater Management Division Laboratory
The process of wastewater treatment requires constant monitoring at the various treatment levels. This ensures that wastewater is being treated properly, or identifies if changes need to be made to the treatment process in order to meet strict regulatory mandates as specified in the Regional Wastewater Reclamation Facility’s (RWRF) permit to operate.
The Wastewater Management Division has its own environmental laboratory at the RWRF to handle the day-to-day testing of the various treatment processes. The laboratory is certified by the State of California as an Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) accredited laboratory for the testing of environmental samples including but not limited to water, groundwater, wastewater and biosolids. The RWRF Laboratory is certified to test over 100 constituents including those required to demonstrate regulatory compliance with the Waste Discharge Requirements, the City’s Pretreatment Program and the City’s Water Supply Permit.
Laboratory staff is comprised of chemists, biologists and microbiologists that take care of the daily testing and analysis. Timely and accurate data provided by the laboratory to operations staff is essential for process control and to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. Due to the laboratory’s competitive pricing structure, the services provided by this laboratory are not limited to the RWRF. The RWRF laboratory also provides service to other divisions within the Department of Public Utilities and to agencies in neighboring cities.