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What's New

Protect Your Bay on Earth Day!

Visit Union Sanitary District's Booth at Fremont's Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, April 26 - 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Washington Hospital - Washingon West

2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont

USD is offering FREE services to celebrate Earth Day!

Bring your unwanted and expired medications to USD's booth at the City of Fremont/Washington Hospital Earth Day celebration for FREE safe disposal.

  • Empty pills into one resealable bag and bring it to our booth - recycle the container at home.
  • Bring liquids and lotions in original containers with personal information blacked out or removed, and put into a resealable bag to prevent leakage.

USD is also holding a FREE thermometer exchange - trade your mercury thermometer in for a non-hazardous version at no charge. We will also recycle other mercury-containing devices for you.

Pick up a FREE grease scraper when you stop by! Keep Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) out of your sewer to protect your home and the environment.

Click here to see the Event Flyer. For more information call USD at (510) 477-7621.


USD Sponsors Water/Wastewater Awards at Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair

Chemist II John Seo Judged Special Category

USD was a co-sponsor of the Excellence in Water Research Awards at the Alameda County Science and Engineering Fair held March 22-23 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. To encourage students to pursue science and engineering in the water, wastewater and recycled water fields, the District joined nine other Alameda County water/wastewater agencies to support awards for junior and senior high-school projects that focus on those subjects. USD's Chemist II John Seo judged projects in the Special Category along with colleagues from other agencies.

"It was a memorable and enjoyable experience," says John. "I was really impressed by the efforts of all the kids who displayed their projects, as well as their ability to present their findings to us. It's a great event to encourage research and awareness about the role that water and wastewater agencies have in protecting the environment."


CASA Education Foundation Solicits Scholarship Applications

The California Association of Sewerage Agencies (CASA) Education Foundation will be issuing two $5,000 scholarships in 2014! The scholarship criteria and application are now available and scholarship application packets can be received until April 30, 2014. Union Sanitary District is a CASA member.

The vision of the CASA Education Foundation is to enhance the future of California's clean water community by attracting new professionals into the industry. Students pursuing higher education in engineering, environmental science, public administration, or other related fields, and show an interest in serving the clean water industry are eligible. The focus of the CASA Education Foundation is undergraduate education. If you have any questions contact the CASA Education Foundation at .


Wipes Clog Pipes!

Visit For Info About Wipes and Other Pollution Prevention Tips

Information on about "flushable" wipes and their effects on sewers and the environment deserves attention. Below are some interesting facts about wipes from BayWise - check the website for more details (and to view a very funny "Can't Flush This" video from the United Kingdom!)

Many consumers use disposable wipes because they're convenient for cleaning and disinfecting. Even people who would not normally embrace disposable products because of concern for overburdened landfills are using wipes that are being marketed as "flushable." They don't toss them in the trash; they flush them down the toilet, believing they've done the right thing.


"Flushable" Wipes Should NOT be Flushed

The "flushable" label simply means they will go down your toilet when flushed. What you should be concerned about is what can happen next.

Unlike toilet paper, disposable wipes (even those labeled "flushable") do not quickly disintegrate in water. Consumer Reports tested several brands of wipes labeled "flushable" and found that while toilet paper disintegrated after about eight seconds, the wipes still hadn't broken down after 30 minutes.

These products stay largely intact as they travel through sewer pipes and can easily get caught on roots or other debris, increasing the risk of clogs and sewage overflows. As disposable wipes grow in popularity, sewer agencies are being forced to commit additional resources to removing mounds of wipes clogging up public sewer lines, pumps, and treatment facilities.

While USD has not experienced significant problems with wipes at our plant and pump stations, their increasing popularity is a concern. Disposable wipes are an even greater threat to your home's sewer pipe, which is much smaller and more easily clogged. In addition to potentially causing clogs and overflows, many of the cleaning and disinfecting wipes contain chemicals that are difficult for sewer treatment plants to remove, and they can thus pollute local waters.  

If you use disposable cleaning/disinfecting wipes, moist towelettes, baby wipes, personal hygiene wipes or similar disposable or "flushable" products, put them in the trash, never in your toilet. Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed down your toilet. If you have questions about wipes, call USD at (510) 477-7621.


USD Wins "Peak Performance" Award

Union Sanitary District has received the Gold Award from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) for “Peak Performance” in the 2012 calendar year. The Gold Award recognizes the District’s achievement of 100% compliance with its regulatory permit requirements for an entire year. These permit conditions are in place to protect the water quality of San Francisco Bay.


USD has been recognized by NACWA for 20 consecutive years since the award program began in 1993. “The Gold Award is an honor that reflects our level of commitment to environmental protection, as well as the hard work of all District employees,” says David Livingston, Plant Manager. “USD’s well-trained, dedicated staff is the reason for our success.”



General Manager Richard Currie notes that “our plant operators, mechanics, electricians, laboratory staff, engineers and environmental compliance staff all share in this award. It truly takes the efforts of all of these groups to keep the plant running smoothly and to ensure that no harmful materials are discharged to the sewer by businesses and industries in our service area.”


USD’s Jose Rodrigues Wins Statewide Collection System Worker of the Year Award

Collection System Worker II Jose Rodrigues has received the statewide “Collection System Worker of the Year” award from the California Water Environment Association (CWEA). “Jose’s leadership skills and contributions to USD’s training and maintenance programs are very deserving of this recognition,” says James Schofield, Collection Services Supervisor. “He consistently displays a ‘can do’ attitude that makes him a great co-worker and representative of our District.” Jose is the first USD employee to win this award.

USD owns and maintains over 780 miles of sewer lines in the Tri-Cities. The District’s Collection Services Workers clean, inspect and repair lines daily to help ensure continuous, uninterrupted service to our customers. They also complete connections to our system for new construction, mark utilities for digging, and respond to customer trouble calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Protecting human health and providing professional service to our customers is an important job,” says Jose, who joined the District in 2003. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years with others, and I strive to be someone that a new person in the collection services field can look up to.”

Jose’s accomplishments include helping to develop and construct an overflow estimating training station at the District’s Alvarado Treatment Plant in Union City, and presenting technical training to USD employees and outside agencies. He contributes as a subject matter expert to the District’s award-winning training program, helping to develop tools for measuring competencies and instructing classes. He has also presented workshops at CWEA conferences and other industry events.

CWEA is the California industry association for wastewater professionals, with about 9,000 members statewide. Jose initially won the regional Collection System Worker of the Year award in January 2013 for CWEA’s San Francisco Bay Section, which includes over 1,600 members in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties, plus a portion of San Mateo County. The regional award automatically qualified him to compete at the statewide level. The competition is based on accomplishments and contributions to the wastewater industry.


Get Tips For Fats, Oils & Grease Disposal at!


USD has a web page with information to help you dispose of Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG) properly, and avoid costly, messy sewer backups in your homes and neighborhoods. Check out our tips at, where you can learn how to keep a delicious meal from turning into a messy disaster! See for a printable Tip Sheet, or read it here!


USD Wins Purchasing Award

USD recently won the National Purchasing Institute’s (NPI) Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award. The award recognizes the District’s Materials Management Team for demonstrating excellence in the principles and practices of procurement. This is the sixth consecutive year that USD has received the award. USD is one of only 29 Special Districts in the United States and one of only 40 government agencies in California to achieve the award for 2012.


USD obtained high scores in 19 different performance areas evaluated by the NPI. The criteria are designed to measure innovation, professionalism, e-procurement implementation, productivity, and leadership attributes of the procurement arm of an organization.


“Our Materials Management Team is dedicated to obtaining goods and services that provide the best value to USD and our customers,” says Richard Cortes, Business Services Manager. “They also continue their proactive involvement in the District’s emergency preparedness efforts, strategic planning and use of technology to increase efficiency. This award recognizes the many contributions they make to help the USD fulfill its mission to protect the Tri-Cities and San Francisco Bay.”


USD Wins Peak Performance Award

USD has received the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Gold “Peak Performance Award” for the 2011 calendar year.  The Gold Award recognizes our achievement of 100% compliance with our regulatory permit requirements for an entire year. These permit conditions are in place to protect the water quality of San Francisco Bay.


USD has been recognized by NACWA for 18 consecutive years since the award program began in 1993. “The achievement of the Gold Award reflects our level of commitment to environmental protection, as well as the hard work of all District employees,” says David Livingston, Plant Manager. “USD’s enthusiastic and dedicated staff is the reason for our success.”


Assemblymember Wieckowski Honors USD At Solar Facility Event

Solar Facility Project Engineer Curtis Bosick answers questions

at USD's recent Open House (left)



Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski addresses guests at USD's Solar Facility (right).

Mr. Wieckowski presented USD with a California Assembly Certificate of Recognition for “moving us toward a clean energy future” during the event.

Union Sanitary District was honored to receive a California Assembly Certificate of Recognition for its Irvington Pump Station Solar Project. Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (20th District) personally presented the certificate to the District at a recent open house celebrating the completion of the solar facility. The award congratulates USD for “moving us towards a clean energy future.” The District’s new solar facility produces 460 kilowatts of energy and is designed to make the pump station, which sends much of Fremont’s wastewater toward the District’s treatment plant in Union City, energy-independent.


“We’re honored to receive this recognition from Mr. Wieckowski for our efforts to create sources of renewable energy. This is one of many projects that will help us to reduce our power bills and make the best use of the public’s assets,” says General Manager Richard Currie.


USD’s solar facility is elevated within the pump station’s 2.9 acre emergency storage pond. The 1,680 solar panels move east to west with the sun each day, and are expected to generate about 875,000 kilowatt-hours annually, which is enough to supply about 80 homes. The solar facility took a year to construct at a cost of $2.85 million. USD will receive $650,000 in rebates from PG & E over the next five years, and is already seeing significant savings in its electric bills.


Our Alvarado Wastewater Treatment Plant Gives Award-Winning Service 24/7/365

Did you know that you own Digesters, Aeration Basins and Clarifiers? Those are just a few of the 53 facilities, buildings and structures at our Alvarado Treatment Plant in Union City. Our annual sewer service fees from customers like you help us to maintain those structures and thousands of pieces of equipment that are used to treat 26 million gallons of wastewater at our 33-acre facility every day.

The original treatment plant at this location was built in 1962 to handle Union City's wastewater. A regional facility for Fremont, Newark and Union City was built here and went online in 1981. It has undergone several upgrades and expansions as the Tri-Cities have grown. We operate 24/7/365 to protect public health and the environment for our customers, because wastewater never stops!

USD recently received the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) Gold "Peak Performance Award" for the 2011 calendar year. The Gold Award recognizes the District's achievement of 100% compliance with its regulatory permit requirements for an entire year. These permit conditions are in place to protect the water quality of San Francisco Bay. We're proud to receive this acknowledgement of our commitment to environmental protection.

There are many things involved in giving award-winning treatment to the wastewater we receive! Here are some highlights of what we use every 24 hours:

  • 1,120,000 gallons of water - 98% of which is recycled.

  • 49,000 kilowatt hours of electricity - about 2,000 times what is used in a typical home. We produce 18% of our electricity ourselves, decreasing our daily bill from $5,505 to $4,671.

  • 1,000 gallons of chlorine bleach solution - to disinfect treated wastewater. Our bleach is about 2.5 times stronger than Clorox.

  • 789 miles of pipeline to get the wastewater from all the homes and businesses to USD.

  • 450 gallons of polymer chemicals to improve treatment efficiency.

  • 770 gallons of ferrous chloride - a purplish-brown liquid containing lots of iron - to reduce corrosion and improve treatment.

Would you like to tour the plant? Call (510) 477-7621 to set up an appointment.

USD's Financial Information Is On The Web

You can view information about USD's finances online! Learn about where our revenues come from and the types of expenditures we make to ensure the continuation of our award-winning, reliable service to our customers. See how our charges stack up against other utility bills, and compare our rates to other Bay Area agencies and communities.

To View The District's Financial Information, click here