Who to contact

TOURS: 650-838-2901 (temporarily unavailable due to COVID)
PERMITS: 650-329-2122

Report hazardous spills, illegal dumping, storm drain blockages, sanitary sewer backups or overflows in your community.

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Not finding what you need?
Call the City of Palo Alto Public Works - Watershed Protection at 650-329-2598 or email cleanbay@cityofpaloalto.org.

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To the City of Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant and the Household Hazardous Waste Station.

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The mission of the Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) is to protect San Francisco Bay by cleaning and treating wastewater before it is discharged to San Francisco Bay.

Owned and operated by the City of Palo Alto, the Plant treats wastewater for the communities of Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Stanford University and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District.

Regional Water Quality Control Plant
2501 Embarcadero Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303

Quick Information
» New effluent outfall pipe
» Laboratory
» Household Hazardous Waste Station
» Sewer Use Ordinance
» Greenhouse Gas Emissions Factsheet

» Horizontal Levee Conceptual Designs for RWQCP
» Horizontal Levee Factsheet

» Recycled Water Permit Applications
» Hauled Liquid Waste Discharge Permit (septic and chemical toilets)​
» RV Disposal Locations

Tour the Regional Water Quality Control Plant

Take a walking tour of the Regional Water Quality Control Plant and see how operators, scientists, engineers and educators work together to clean 20 million gallons of wastewater every day before it's released to San Francisco Bay. To schedule a tour call 650-838-2901.


The RWQCP constructed and commissioned a new biosolids facility in 2019. The sewage sludge incinerators used since 1972 were formally decommissioned in 2019.


The RWQCP is pursuing the construction of an additional outfall pipe to convey effluent (cleaned and treated wastewater) to San Francisco Bay. The new pipe would run adjacent to the existing outfall pipe which releases effluent near the Palo Alto Airport.

Construction efforts would also include maintenance for the existing 52-year old outfall pipe, and pump replacement for effluent discharged to nearby Renzel Marsh adjacent to East Bayshore Road. Together, these projects would ensure reliable transport of treated effluent under projected climate change and sea level rise scenarios. Both projects are recommendations of the Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP), completed in October 2012 and accepted by Council in July 2012 (Staff Report ID 2914).

Project documents:

ELAP Cert # 1087
EPA Lab Code CA00179

The Laboratory’s primary function is to provide analytical services to the water quality control plant in compliance with Palo Alto’s  NPDES permit.  We provide additional services to the water transmissions department which includes analyzing Palo Alto’s potable water supply.  We are accredited by ELAP in the following fields of testing: volatile organic, inorganic, toxic elements and microbiology.  We follow a variety of methodology including 40 CFR part 136, Standard Methods and EPA in accordance with State and Federal Regulations for wastewater, sludge, and potable water.

Our  laboratory staff hold analyst certifications from CWEA including; three Grade IVs.  The lab consists of 3 lab technicians, 3 chemists, 1 senior chemist and 1 manager of laboratory services.

Primary instrumentation on site include: GCMS and ICPMS.

Renzel Marsh

The City of Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (RWQCP) designed and constructed the freshwater Renzel Marsh Pond along East Bayshore Road in 1992. This project was a requirement of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, which regulates the RWQCP, and provided a beneficial reuse for treated wastewater effluent. Today, Renzel Marsh Pond receives cleaned and treated wastewater effluent from the RWQCP that travels into Matadero Creek, the Palo Alto Flood Basin and then into San Francisco Bay.

RWQCP Annual Reports