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Central San Academy shows residents wastewater treatment behind the scenes

Applications for spring program available through Tuesday

Central San, the agency that provides sewer service to most of the San Ramon Valley, is looking for residents interested in joining its citizens academy program to learn more about wastewater treatment, recycled water and how the local district operates.

Applications for the award-winning Central San Academy remain available through this Tuesday (March 21). The free program will run once a week from early April to early May and offers "a rare glimpse into how used water gains new life," agency officials said.

"Central San Academy demystifies the nature of the services we provide and explains how and why we invest the money our customers pay for those services," Central San general manager Roger Bailey said in a statement.

"We describe what we do, how we recover resources and how we keep costs down. No one comes out of the academy saying they don't know what Central San does, or why they have to pay for our services," Bailey added.

Formally the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, Central San provides wastewater collection and treatment, recycled water and household hazardous waste disposal for roughly 481,600 residents and 3,000 businesses in the central part of the county, including Danville, most of San Ramon and unincorporated San Ramon Valley.

The Central San Academy will teach participants how the district operates as a governmental agency, how it is increasing recycled water use throughout central Contra Costa County, and how it cleans wastewater using biology, chemistry, engineering and technology, officials said.

The program included classroom presentations, a Q&A with members of the Board of Directors, and tours of the agency's treatment plant, laboratory, recycled water fill station and household hazardous waste collection facility, officials said.

Central San Academy, which aims to public awareness and advocacy of core services, received an industry award last October -- the Exceptional Public Outreach & Advocacy Award from the California Special Districts Association.

This spring's program will feature one evening class per week from April 4 to May 9, except for a daytime tour on April 25. It will take place at Central San headquarters, 5019 Imhoff Place in Martinez. Participants must be 18 years old or older.

For more information or to apply, visit the Central San website.

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