San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility Master Plan

The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility is the largest advanced wastewater treatment facility in the western United States. Occupying over 2,600 acres at the southern edge of the San Francisco Bay, it serves more than 1.4 million residents in eight cities and portions of Santa Clara County. The site of the project is uniquely positioned between the sensitive shallow water habitats and ecosystems of the South Bay and the global hub of technological innovation—the Golden Triangle of Silicon Valley.

Advancements in wastewater treatment technologies will significantly reduce the operational footprint of the facility by 77 percent to 618 acres, freeing land for alternative uses. The San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility Master Plan ensures that the facility's role in protecting public health and the environment continues long-term, while creating an inspired vision for the South Bay shoreline. It includes development to strengthen the region’s economy, restore sensitive bay habitats, and provide new opportunities for community recreation and connection to the bayfront.

Developed by SOM with Carollo Engineers and Hargreaves Associates for the City of San José’s Environmental Services Department, the master plan provides a physical planning framework that leverages the site’s most unique assets—proximity to the bay, an abundant supply of clean water, and large, contiguous land parcels. It expands bay habitats to include 1,900 acres of new tidal mudflats, salt marshes, wetlands, and riparian corridors (land bordering a body of water), and creates new parklands, recreational-oriented open spaces, and trails.

Providing 160 acres for new economic development, the plan introduces a new retail corridor along Highway 237 and supports San José’s Green Vision—an ongoing policy to transform the city into the world center of Clean Technology innovation—with an area for education, research and development, and offices. It also protects both the wastewater facility and the North San José community against the impact of rising sea level with terraced levees that mimic the natural landscape.

After a three-year process that included extensive community stakeholder participation and input, the master plan was adopted by the San José City Council.