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Resource Recovery, Water Reclamation and Reuse

Through the years, the Sanitation Districts have led advancements in resource recovery, and water reclamation and reuse in the wastewater treatment process. Materials that would otherwise be considered waste—biogas (methane), biosolids (the residuals of wastewater treatment) and recycled water—are treated and converted into resources that are used extensively by the Sanitation Districts and their local municipal partners.

Recycled Water
Highly treated water produced at the Sanitation Districts’
water reclamation plants is used for groundwater recharge, industrial uses, agriculture, and urban irrigation of golf courses, parks, schools, etc. (see list below).

By aggressively marketing recycled water for over 55 years, the Sanitation Districts are considered a world leader in reusing water. Eighty percent of the recycled water from the upstream water reclamation plants in the Joint Outfall System is reused. The challenge the Sanitation Districts face today is to find ways to reuse the remaining 20 percent.

Water Recycling
Over 860 sites throughout the County of Los Angeles contract for the use of the Sanitation Districts’ high-quality recycled water.

In California, regulations allow for the use of recycled water for, but not limited to, the following uses:

  • Urban landscape irrigation
  • Food and non-food crop agricultural irrigation
  • Recreational uses (i.e., lakes)
  • Replenishing groundwater supplies
  • Industrial process water
  • Toilet flushing
  • Make-up water for cooling towers
  • Various construction uses
  • Street cleaning
  • Firefighting

Energy (Biogas)

  • Biogas (methane and carbon dioxide gases produced by the anaerobic decomposition of the organic matter contained in wastewater) provides 100 percent of the JWPCP's energy needs.
  • Surplus electricity is sold to electricity markets through the California grid system. 
  • Biogas is used to heat the plant’s digesters and produce steam for in-plant use.


  • Biosolids (the treated and stablized solid materials removed from wastewater) are composted, land applied, and landfilled.
  • Biosolids are used on agricultural fields to condition the soil.

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Sanitation Districts' recycled water.

Purple pipes are used to distribute recycled water to reuse sites.

The Sanitation Districts supply high quality recycled water to over 860 reuse sites throughout the county.

Biogas fuel generators that produce more than enough electricity to run the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant. Excess energy is sold to electricity markets.