The City of Boise and the Public Works Department are pleased to announce a new name for what’s currently known as the city’s sewer or wastewater utility. This important public asset will now be known as Water Renewal Services, a name that reflects the forward-thinking and innovative approach the city is pioneering in water management.
Water Renewal Services’ primary function is cleaning used water from Boise homes and businesses – every drop that goes down the drain, toilet or sink. The utility has two primary water renewal facilities that treat more than 10 billion gallons of used water every year, returning it clean and clear to the Boise River. For over 70 years, the city’s Water Renewal Services has provided reliable service, public health and environmental stewardship to Boise citizens.
“Every day we work hard to build sustainability into our operations and infrastructure so that future generations of Boiseans can count on these resources being there for them,” said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter. “This involves not only day-to-day decisions and long-term planning, but also being thoughtful of how we talk about these resources so that we are reminded of their value on a daily basis.”
The utility’s infrastructure is valued at more than $2 billion, making it the largest single asset that the City of Boise owns, including over 900 miles of pipe below the streets of Boise. With over 220 employees, the city’s water renewal system delivers critical services round the clock to Boise homes and businesses.
In addition to the two primary Water Renewal Facilities at West Boise and Lander Street, the utility has several other facilities and operations that provide important community services:
- Water Quality Laboratory - a cutting-edge facility that conducts critical water quality tests for municipalities throughout the Treasure Valley
- 20 Mile South Farm - the largest contiguous farm in Ada County, which recycles all the city’s biosolids into fertilizer for growing crops. This site also hosts Idaho’s first commercial net-zero energy building
- Boise WaterShed – an environmental education center which provides water protection and conservation education and outreach to over 20,000 adults and children every year and has the largest concentration of public art in the State of Idaho
- Dixie Drain - the nationally recognized phosphorus removal facility near Parma
- Pure Water Brew Boise - a pilot project to partner with local breweries to create a viable product out of recycled water
- Utility Maintenance - a team that operates 24/7 to maintain critical infrastructure, respond to system emergencies and protect public health by ensuring our used water system is consistently and reliably operating
“This is a monumental time for our utility, and the women and men who come to work every single day to protect public health, the Boise River and our environment,” said Boise Public Works Director Steve Burgos. “The words we use to describe our services are an important step in making the innovation and pride that goes with this work current and relevant for our community.”
As a high-desert city, water management is an integral part of Boise’s future. A climate adaptation study conducted in 2016 found that out of eight expected climate impacts specific to Boise, six of them were related to water. The utility is currently undergoing a 20-year strategic plan that is analyzing innovative options for the future of renewed water in Boise.