This summer, residents and commuters in Sunnyvale have sighted massive, bright purple structures making their way underneath Wolfe Road.
No, it’s not a purple people eater.
The vivid, large objects are purple pipes, and they belong to the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s largest recycled water project to date. The Wolfe Road Recycled Water Facilities Project includes installation of 2.5 miles of recycled water pipeline underneath Wolfe Road, to expand the distribution of recycled water throughout Sunnyvale and Santa Clara County.
Recycled water is treated wastewater that has undergone multiple levels of treatment and cleaned even further to meet strict standards set by the state. It is essential to our county’s water supply. Using recycled water allows us to conserve potable (drinking) water supplies, reduce dependency on imported and ground water, and reduces the amount of treated wastewater that would otherwise be discharged into the bay.
Currently, recycled water is used in our county for irrigation, industrial and agricultural uses. Recycled water delivery networks are identified by the color purple. So all signage and pipes are brightly colored to easily identify and minimize the chance of connecting the network to potable water.
The Wolfe Road project is a partnership between the water district, City of Sunnyvale, Apple Inc., and California Water Service Company. It is part of the water district’s plan to expand the use of recycled water in our county to 10 percent by 2025. The new Apple Campus 2 will be the first customer tied into the recycled water system.
Construction began in April and is on its way to be completed in spring of 2017. More than half of the pipeline has been installed underneath Wolfe Road. In the next few months, the pipeline will be installed under El Camino Real and Fremont Avenue.