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The treatment process at the Water Resource Recovery Facility has been experiencing significant challenges over the last few years with increasing toxicity in the wastewater entering the system. Surfactants, commonly found in soaps, detergents, fabric softeners, and other cleaning products disrupt the biological treatment process by killing off beneficial microorganisms (bugs) that aid in the cleaning of wastewater. 

Typically, we control for the level of surfactants in wastewater and adjust the treatment process, but during the last year the quantity of surfactants in the wastewater is above normal. Because our local residents are very attuned to water conservation, we’re using less water, so concentrations are high. Now we don’t want folks to use more precious water, but there are a number of ways you can help!


First: Try using natural soaps containing plant-based ingredients that are free of surfactants, there are a number available on the market. Look for products without sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium stearate.

Second: Consider installing a greywater system to save water and reduce the amount of soapy water discharged into the sewer system. Your plants will love it, you’ll keep more money in your pocket and help delay costly upgrades to the treatment process. For more information on greywater systems, go to http://www.waterwisesb. org/greywater.wwsb.

It’s a win/win situation for the environment, greywater is recycled and used instead of precious potable water, and surfactants are kept out of the treatment plant, keeping our helpful bugs happy and working.

For more additional information on greywater in the Goleta Valley visit, http://www.goletawater. com/newsletters-and-press/ featured-story/great-news-forgreywater/.

  • Mission:

    We protect public health and the environment through cost-effective wastewater collection, treatment, and resource recovery to meet present and future community needs.

  • Vision:

    To be the Region’s Leader in Water Resource Recovery through Excellence and Innovation.

  • Values:

    We value our Community, the People we Serve, and the Environment we Protect by: Acting with Integrity, Being Dependable, Being Responsible, Being Safe and, Being Innovative.