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February 6, 2018 > Union Sanitary District Centennial Stories

Union Sanitary District Centennial Stories

By Michelle Powell

Union Sanitary District (USD) is celebrating one hundred years of service to the Tri-Cities in 2018 with a look back at our history, a look forward to the future, and an Open House event in May to share some family-friendly fun with our customers.

USD is proud of its century of providing wastewater collection, treatment, and disposal services to the Tri-Cities, and weÕll share historical highlights and fun facts in this newspaper during the coming months. In our founding year of 1918, USDÕs boundaries encompassed 3,300 acres in what was known as Southern Alameda County. The area was primarily farm and ranchland well into the twentieth century, and septic tanks were typically used for wastewater disposal.

Today, USDÕs service area covers over 60 square miles (about 38,400 acres), and serves over 350,000 residents in the cities of Fremont, Newark, and Union City, with over 113,000 residential, commercial, and industrial connections. Total flow to our Alvarado Treatment Plant in Union City was over 8.5 billion gallons in 2017, and averages between 22 and 24 million gallons every day.

HereÕs a preview of just a few of the subjects weÕll explore in future issues:

¥ USDÕs early years, highlighting how several local sewer districts became part of Union Sanitary District
¥ The transformation of smaller Tri-City treatment plants into pump stations that direct flow to our centralized plant in Union City, and the plantÕs expansions and upgrades to meet the needs of our growing communities
¥ The Federal Clean Water Act as a catalyst for USDÕs partnership with nearby agencies to build a ÒSuper SewerÓ common transport line for a regional approach to protection of water quality in the San Francisco Bay
¥ TodayÕs challenges in wastewater collection and treatment, and how residents can protect their sewer laterals and public infrastructure
¥ Preparing for the future: USDÕs master planning efforts to develop a roadmap for our next 20 to 40 years of service

ÒWeÕre honored to be an integral part of the history and daily life of the Tri-Cities,Ó says General Manager Paul Eldredge. ÒItÕs a rare privilege for a utility to serve customers for 100 years.Ó

USDÕs Centennial Open House will be the highlight of its commemorative year on Saturday, May 19, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. A previous event held in 2015 was a smash-hit with the community Ð over 1,100 attendees enjoyed touring the plant, viewing displays and interactive demonstrations, and chatting with District staff. ÒWeÕre busy planning even more fun ways for kids and adults to learn about USDÕs protection of public health and the environment during the Centennial event,Ó says Eldredge. ÒOur dedicated, highly-trained staff enjoys showcasing the complexities of maintaining over 819 miles of sewer lines and operating a 33-acre wastewater treatment plant. This is a very special birthday for us, and weÕre excited to celebrate it with our customers.Ó

Have questions or information to share about USDÕs history? Contact us at (510) 477-7500 or visit

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