Emily Saeger
Emily Saeger

Urban Farming with Recycled Water

A visit to the Advanced Water Purification Center

John Steinbeck notably wrote in East of Eden: “And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years.”  I couldn’t agree more.

In the middle of this rainy season, marked by weekly torrential downpours (and a lot of hot coffee) it’s easy to forget about our water insecurity.

In Santa Clara County, home to Levi’s Stadium’s Faithful Farm and other Farmscape gardens, 55% of water is imported. That’s why water conservation is central to our operation at Faithful Farm.  All of the water used atop Faithful Farm is enhanced-recycled water.

So what exactly is enhanced-recycled water?  To answer that question, we decided to take a tour of our neighbors, the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.

The Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, operated by the Santa Clara Valley County Water District, is a state-of-the-art water purification plant that takes recycled water from the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility and purifies it to meet even higher environmental quality standards.

At the Advanced Water Purification Center, recycled water goes through three purification processes – microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light.


The result is 8 million gallons a day of purified water that will meet or exceed California drinking water standards!

Currently, advanced purified water is blended with recycled water to create enhanced recycled water – this is what flows through the purple pipes at Levi’s Stadium.  While enhanced recycled water is great – it’s a lot less salty than regular recycled water – we have yet to see the true potential of purified water: to provide a safe, sustainable, potable water resource.

At present, state regulation does not allow purified water to be used as drinking water. But the technology is there and we’re not the only people using it – check-out Orange County!

We think making advanced purified water potable is a no-brainer.  But, take a virtual tour and decide for yourself!