Goleta Sanitary District Administration Building


The Goleta Sanitary District discharges treated wastewater in accordance with a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (CCRWQCB). This permit consists of waste discharge requirements specifying the amount of wastewater that can be discharged, sampling frequency, the types of testing and monitoring and sets limits of pollutant concentrations.

In September of 2013 the Goleta Sanitary District completed a major upgrade to its treatment facility and is now a full secondary treatment plant. The District was issued a new NPDES permit in 2017 to match the upgraded plant treatment capability.


Through the secondary treatment process, the District produces a higher quality effluent that protects the environment and public health. This means cleaner and clearer water is being discharged to the ocean, and new air quality requirements are ensuring cleaner air.

Preliminary Treatment

Goleta Sanitary District preliminary treatment

The wastewater treatment process begins with two Micro-Screen Units that remove large and small inorganic objects (Rags, Plastics, Wood, Paper, etc.) and then through two grit chambers with coarse air bubble diffusors that thin the water out, allowing small heavy inorganics such as (tar, eggshells, rocks, etc.) to drop out and be removed. This is where so-called "flushable" wipes end up.

All this inorganic material cannot be treated and is taken to a landfill.

Primary Treatment

Goleta Sanitary District primary treatment

The primary treatment process is a physical process utilizing gravity to remove about 69% of the organic solids from the wastewater.

Our primary treatment process consists of the screened sedimentation tanks where solids that settle to the bottom or float to the top are collected and removed from the water.


Secondary Treatment

Goleta Sanitary District secondary treatment

The secondary treatment process is a biological process that removes about 85% of secondary solids from the wastewater.

Primary treated wastewater is sent to the secondary treatment process which begins with two bio-filters, here micro-organisms in the bio-filters literally consume the dissolved organic material in the wastewater. After Bio-filtration the water flows by gravity to the three activated sludge basins where further biological activity take place and breaks down organic material which then proceeds to two of four secondary sedimentation tanks where solids settle to bottom for removal. The clear and clean surface water flows over weirs as secondary treated effluent.


The secondary treated wastewater then proceeds to the chlorine contact channel where sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) is added to disinfect it and kill any remaining bacteria. 

The wastewater is then de-chlorinated with sodium bi-sulfite to protect the ocean life, this wastewater is called the final effluent and it flows through a pipeline to one mile off-shore and safely into the ocean environment.

Water Recycling

Goleta Sanitary District water recycling

Our Tertiary Treatment creates super-clean recycled water that meets stringent quality requirements.

Recycled wastewater is produced by treating secondary effluent to the tertiary level. Secondary treated water is mixed with special chemicals that cause remaining particles to clump together. It is then filtered with carbon, and finally disinfected with chlorine to kill bacteria. Recycled water is used for irrigation throughout the Goleta Valley, saving precious drinking water.

Bio-Solids Treatment

Goleta Sanitary District biosolids treatment

The solids removed from the wastewater during all the processes are treated so they can be reused as a soil amendment.

The primary solids are mixed with secondary solids that have been collected and are thickened by two mechanical sludge thickeners. They are then stabilized by treating them in three large heated anaerobic digesters tanks for about 30-35days.

The Digested solids are then further treated in two stabilization (lagoons) basins, from six months up to two years. These solids are then harvested out to drying beds where solids are dried in several stages to kill off any remaining bacteria. A portion of these digested solids is sent to two mechanical screw presses where the solids are de-watered and then trucked off site for land application. The harvested solids product has a dark earthy color, is completely dry, nearly odorless, and is available free to the public as a useful soil amendment. PLEASE NOTE: the availability of free Class A biosolids is subject to various environmental factors. Please call first to confirm if and when Biosolids will be available for pick-up.

Limited quantities of Class A biosolids are available on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information please call (805) 967-4519

    • This material is not to be used as a topsoil and it must be turned into your soil.

    • It is not recommended for use with root vegetables

    • Please bring your own small garbage bags or containers for transport, there is a shovel available for your convenience; we do not have any prepackaged amendment at this time.

    • Pick up days/hours are M-TH 8-4, Friday 8-3

      Please make sure to check in at the administrative office during each of your visits - Thank you.

Process Diagram


Mission Statement

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