Where to Get Free Recycled Water in Contra Costa County

Water is a precious resource here in California. Drinkable water often comes from reservoirs high in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and getting it safely to residents is no small task, especially during ongoing droughts. If you live in Central Contra Costa County, you can help reduce the strain on local water resources by picking up free recycled water for watering your garden at the Central Contra Costa County Sanitary District Facility in Martinez.

Central San’s free recycled water filling station is a unique and valuable resource. To use it, you must be a resident of an eligible Contra Costa community. Do you get your sewer services from Central San? If so, you’re likely eligible to get free recycled water at the facility.

Before you go, download a copy of the county’s free application form. You can get it here:

The form details your responsibilities as a recycled water user. You can’t use the water in any place where it could result in cross-contamination with drinkable water, for example. If you have a garden table near a fountain, for example, you shouldn’t fill the fountain with recycled water, because it could splash onto food on your table.

When you get to the facility in Martinez, California, you’ll also need to check in with an attendant who will give you a brief overview of how to fill up and how to use the water. There’s a small shed with hoses, and you can fill up your containers there. Containers need to be able to seal tightly. The minimum size is 1 gallon, and you can get up to 300 gallons per trip. There’s no limit to the number of trips, though, so you can keep coming back and filling up if you want.

One caveat: water is heavy! A 100-gallon container weighs about 800 pounds. Make sure that your vehicle can handle the water you’re picking up.

Beyond that, take advantage of this free resource, which also helps to protect the local environment. Recycled water is purified to high standards, even if it’s not as high as drinking water. By using water that would otherwise go to waste, you can save some strain on the local environment–and save yourself a bit of money as well!

Check out the Central San recycled water facility the next time you need water for your garden.

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Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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