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Pollution Prevention

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Stanford's wastewater pollution prevention program works in conjunction with the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (PARWQCP) to reduce contamination from waste.

In many cases, conservation techniques, the use of less-toxic substances, and recycling can go a long way toward minimizing impacts to the PARWQCP and San Francisco Bay through discharges to the sewer system.

Stanford University is a partner in the PARWQCP, which is operated by the City of Palo Alto, along with co-partners Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, and the East Palo Alto Sanitary District. The mission of the PARWQCP is to protect the San Francisco Bay by treating wastewater before it is discharged or used as Recycled Water. Wastewater treatment plants and sewer systems are sensitive to hazardous chemicals, heavy metals loading, and grease. Campus programs have been developed to reduce the impact of sanitary sewer discharges from laboratories, food service establishments, residences, and the Central Energy Facility on the sanitary sewer system and PARWQCP.

As part of a comprehensive program to reduce the amount of pollutants that reach the sanitary sewer system and the South San Francisco Bay, PARWQCP has prepared these Best Management Practices (BMPs).  There are some limitations to the effectiveness of the wastewater treatment plant, where consumer choices can play a large part in keeping contaminants out of the Bay. Some materials, such as triclosan, microbeads, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products can pass through the plant without full removal, so these materials should be avoided or disposed of properly to prevent negative impacts. Campus residents, faculty, staff, students, and visitors can help protect the San Francisco Bay by following the guidelines and best practices discussed here

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Wastewater at Stanford