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City Departments

Flowing Creek Water

Water Utility

Dh2oThe Water Treatment Department is dedicated to providing a safe and reliable supply of high-quality drinking water for the citizens of Ukiah and their guests. Our highly professional and competent staff monitors demand within the system and matches the output of the sources to meet the demand. On a daily basis, staff monitors disinfectant levels and flow rates. On a weekly basis, they collect samples to be analyzed for microbial contamination, color and odor. On a monthly schedule, they calibrate the instruments that display and record the various parameters that indicate primary water quality. Throughout the year our staff collects water samples to be analyzed for a variety of contaminants. The results of this work ensure the citizens of Ukiah that the quality is at a maximum, better than those required by both the United States Environmental Protection (USEPA) and the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water (DDW).

Water Utility

Nature has given the City of Ukiah a high-quality abundant supply of water. The City of Ukiah’s primary water source is the underflow from the Russian River which is classified as Ground Water under Direct Influence for Surface Water. There are four ground water sources located at various points within the City Limits. These sources exceed the needs of both winter and summer demand serving over 7,000 residential and commercial connections with over 90 miles of water main.

The City has a broad portfolio of water rights which allow the City to shift sources of water as needed.

  • Pre-1914 Appropriative Right to divert approximately 2,000 acre-feet annually from the Russian River
  • 1954 Appropriative Right to divert approximately 14,480 acre-feet annually from the Russian River
  • Capability to divert approximately 4,000 acre-feet of groundwater in the Ukiah subbasin
  • Contract with RRFC for 800 acre-feet annually

As recent experience in 2014-2015, as the driest year on record demonstrates, the City has sufficient water available to meet current and future needs, regardless of water year type or hydrology, of areas well beyond the existing City limits. The City or its processor in interest has been supplying water to its residents since the later 1800’s.

Maintenance and Operations

The highly skilled staff of water operations maintain the water distribution system to ensure delivery of clean and safe drinking water with a minimum or no interruption to our customers.
Staff monitor demand within the system and matches the output of the sources to meet the demand. A Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system allows staff to effectively operate and troubleshoot the City’s water distribution system by monitoring all pumps, pump stations, and reservoir parameters remotely.

Recycled Water and Wastewater

Recycled Water

Ukiah Recycled Water Vineyard IrrigationThe Recycled Water System includes nearly eight miles of pipeline, a 66-million-gallon water storage reservoir, upgraded treatment facilities and improved water and wastewater infrastructure on Oak Manor Drive. This allows the City to serve approximately 325 million gallons of water to farmers, parks, and schools.

As of 2020, the City has completed the first three phases of this project which provide an additional 1,000-acre feet per year of water supply to the Ukiah Valley. Phase 4, the final phase, is scheduled for construction in 2021 and will provide an additional 400-acre feet per year.

The recycled water project known as the “purple pipe project” provides numerous benefits to our community including promoting a vibrant agricultural region, reducing diversions from the Russian River, assisting in conformation to State conservation objectives and improving environmental habitat by providing an alternative source for frost protection.


Water that goes down your shower, toilet and sink drain enters our wastewater collection system. Over 93 miles of underground pipes bring this wastewater from homes, businesses, and industry located within the City of Ukiah to the wastewater treatment plant.

The majority of our wastewater runs by gravity through a series of wastewater pipes to the Plant. The remainder of the wastewater, due to elevations that will not allow for gravity flow, must be lifted (pumped) to a location through force (pressurized) mains in the wastewater system that will allow the wastewater to return to a gravity wastewater main.

The Waste Water Treatment Plant underwent a three year, $56.5M improvement project that was completed in 2009. This plant will insure continued compliance with permit requirements and meet future demand growth.

Maintenance and Operations

Recycled Water PumpsThe recycled water and wastewater system operators are responsible for nearly 8 miles of recycled water, 93 miles of sewer pipe, and 3 wastewater lift stations. Maintenance includes testing, cleaning, leak repair, operational emergency response, general construction, and more.

Storm Water


It’s simple really, but a fact that most of our community is either unaware of or hasn’t thought of. The Storm Drains you see in our streets, go directly into our creeks and then flow into the Russian River.

If you take a moment to think that through you’ll understand the implications. That small piece of trash that has been sitting in the gutter, the remaining fertilizer lingering in the flower beds, the bacteria and pathogens from forgotten pet waste, with the addition of water all of these contaminants will travel directly into our creeks. The good news is there’s a lot we can do, with some simple changes, that will have great impact.

Streets to Creeks Video LinkStreets to Creeks. Ours to Protect — Area Sponsors

Storm Water Management

The City of Ukiah has adopted the Low Impact Development (LID) Manual that is utilized by Santa Rosa and Sonoma County (see City of Ukiah Resolution No. 2014-27). This Manual provides the technical design guidelines for development projects in the implementation of permanent storm water quality features.

For more information or to report issues with downloading the documents, please contact Andrew Stricklin, Associate Engineer via email at astricklin@cityofukiah.com

City of Santa Rosa/County of Sonoma LID Manual, adopted by the City of Ukiah

As storm water flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Storm water can flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the water bodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.

Since the passage of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the quality of our Nation’s waters has improved dramatically. Despite this progress, however, degraded water bodies still exist. According to the 1996 National Water Quality Inventory, approximately 40 percent of surveyed U.S. water bodies are still impaired by pollution and do not meet water quality standards. A leading source of this impairment is polluted storm water runoff. In fact, according to the Inventory, 13 percent of impaired rivers, 21 percent of impaired lake acres, and 45 percent of impaired estuaries are affected by urban/suburban storm water runoff. Six percent of impaired rivers, 11 percent of impaired lake acres, and 11 percent of impaired estuaries are affected by construction site discharges.

The City of Ukiah recognizes that contaminants and impurities in storm water runoff are a major threat to the quality of our environment and our water supply. A five year management plan has been drafted and is in the process of being implemented. Posted below are the six areas in which the city is taking measures to reduce and protect against pollutants that storm water runoff carries to our creeks and rivers.

  1. Public Education and Outreach
  2. Public Involvement and Participation
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  4. Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
  5. Post-Construction Storm Water Management
  6. Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipalities

Preventable Causes of Storm Water Pollution

petwaste construction auto
lawngarden agriculture toxins


Helping your local waterways comes in many different forms, and we here at the city have provided easy, free outlets for you to do your part. Click below for the Hazmobile schedule, to learn about proper disposal of household toxic wastes.

Also, if you notice any illicit discharges or illegal dumping, please do your part as a friendly citizen and call the neighborhood hotline below, or e-mail us.


To report illegal dumping into gutters or storm drains, please call:


From the EPA’s After the Storm: A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding Storm Water. Read the whole document here

Polluted storm water runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.

  • Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment can also destroy aquatic habitats.
  • Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can’t exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
  • Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
  • Debris – plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts – washed into water bodies can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life like ducks, fish, turtles and birds.
  • Household hazardous wastes like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.
  • Polluted storm Water often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.


How To Learn More About Storm Water Runoff

Drought Resiliency

Drought Resiliency

Responding responsibly to ensure a stable and affordable water supply

With historically low rainfall and the very real prospect of a prolonged drought on the horizon, the City is responding responsibly to ensure ongoing reliability and affordability of our municipal water resources. By virtue of our proactive investments in a diversified water supply the City is well positioned to maintain reliable water service during these dry times.

Managing, delivering, and planning of our region’s water supply

As the largest municipal supplier of water in the Valley, Ukiah is leading by example in taking the necessary steps to achieve and maintain an affordable and sustainable water supply.

We have invested in modernized water infrastructure to enhance sustainability and reduce diversions off the Russian River, while still maintaining service for community needs. Ukiah’s state-of-the-art water recycling plant allows the City to serve approximately 325 million gallons of water to farmers, parks and schools and reduces our reliance on the Russian River by at least 30%. We are utilizing our recycled water capability to serve Oak Manor Park, Riverside Park, and the Ukiah Sports Complex. Relying on recycled water helps protect the environment and reduces the stress on shared regional resources.

In addition, our investments in modernizing our groundwater wells have also allowed us to further reduce our reliance on the Russian River and Mendocino Lake.

How you can help us conserve water and keep Ukiah green

We must also do our part as residents. When we all make small adjustments, we can make a huge difference. Adjustments you can make include:

  • Install water-saving fixtures, such as shower heads and kitchen faucets
  • Take shorter showers
  • Water your lawn and garden only when necessary
  • Fill containers of recycled water for outdoor use for free at the water recycling plant
Even though a prolonged drought may be on the horizon, Ukiah has taken steps to prepare. If we all respond responsibly, we will be okay.

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