WCW was honored to be part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) tour last Friday celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act! The Act has been instrumental in controlling pollution and maintaining water quality across the country and locally. WCW completed several construction projects in the late 1970s and early 1980s that were supported by clean water grants to build much of the existing Water Quality and Resource Recovery Plant (WQRRP). The projects that resulted from these grants, and the Act itself, set the stage for many new, exciting projects happening today!

The tour welcomed members of the EPA, including U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, EPA Region 9 Regional Administrator Martha Guzman and CalEPA Secretary Yana Garcia, as well as Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and many WCW partners. Attendees explored the North Richmond Shoreline Living Levee Project and learned about WCW’s projects, dedication to protecting the environment and commitment to community stewardship.

As Eileen White, Executive Officer at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, noted in her event remarks, WCW is an industry leader in addressing aging infrastructure, climate change and sea level rise and in community engagement. We have a rare public-private partnership with EBMUD (East Bay Municipal Utility District), who uses most of our treated water for recycled water, keeping it out of the Bay and offsetting drinking water demand. We are one of a few wastewater agencies that removes all the nutrients, which can pollute water and lead to excessive algae growth, from its water.

Today, our team is modernizing the WQRRP, which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and free up land for community recreational use and habitat restoration. Part of investing in these upgrades is protecting them for the future, which is one reason WCW is proud to be part of the North Richmond Shoreline Living Levee Project. The project will protect the plant from sea level rise and is the first step in a collaborative effort to protect other areas along the shoreline. In addition, the community will have access to environmental education and biking and hiking trails. Community involvement has been a key component in making this project a reality and ensuring it meets the needs of our neighbors.

Learn about WCW, the Clean & Green Project and more at wcwd.org.