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Wastewater Treatment

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  Wastewater (another name for sewage) from San Carlos goes to a regional wastewater treatment plant located at far end of Redwood Shores at 1400 Radio Road, Redwood City, CA 94065 that is operated by the South Bayside Sewer Authority (SBSA). It’s a regional plant because it serves Belmont, Redwood City and the Menlo Park area in addition to San Carlos (about 200,000 people).

The wastewater is treated to an advanced level, which removes 97% of impurities using biological, mechanical and chemical processes.  Most of the purified wastewater is discharged through a 66 inch diameter pipeline to the submarine outfall diffuser about a mile offshore in San Francisco Bay. The diffuser is located at a depth of 45 feet in the main shipping channel approximately 2 miles south of the San Mateo Bridge – this helps to ensure that the tides mix the treated wastewater with bay water. 

Some of the purified wastewater is recycled by the City of Redwood City to irrigate landscaping and athletic fields.  Also, the plant produces much of the energy needed to run its equipment using methane gas generated by microbes which digest solids in the wastewater.


Although the plant is typically closed to the public, there’s an abundance of bird life in a pond next to the plant and there are some nice trails around it.  Parents might want to take the kids on an outing to Radio Road.