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City of Santa Rosa Proclaims Existence of Local Emergency ; Significant Localized Flooding at Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant leads to Impacts , Discharge of Fully Treated Wastewater 

Frequently Asked Questions (updated 3/6/2019) 

Press Release (3/1/2019) 

Treatment Plant Update as of 3/6/2019:

  • As of Wednesday afternoon, March 6th, the Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant had discharged 374 million gallons of fully treated wastewater (recycled water) into Colgan Creek, Laguna de Santa Rosa, and the Santa Rosa Creek; discharge is continuing.
  • Council ratified the City of Santa Rosa’s Local Emergency Proclamation which was proclaimed by the City Manager on Thursday evening, February 28th.
  • Localized flooding at the Treatment Plant has receded significantly over last few days.

Treatment Plant Update as of 2/28/2019:

The City of Santa Rosa has proclaimed the existence of a local state of emergency as of February 28, 2019 following this week's atmospheric river weather event. The proclamation was declared as a result of the Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant being impacted during the storm by localized flooding, and sewer flow rates coming into the plant were higher than ever recorded, placing strain on the system. 

  • Sewer flow rates were over five times the winter daily average and remained above the system capacity for a sustained period.
  • These historically high flow rates led the City to begin to discharge treated effluent from Meadow Lane Ponds into Colgan Creek and the Laguna de Santa Rosa, and from Delta Pond into Santa Rosa Creek. 
  • Due to the flooding, high flows, and dangerous storm conditions, City Water Reclamation staff were escorted by the Fire Department’s Swift Water Rescue Team to Delta Pond to open the valves necessary to begin the emergency discharge.
  • Only water that had already been fully treated to permit regulations through the Wastewater Treatment Plant system — and which was ready for recycled water reuse purposes — was discharged.
  • The Laguna Treatment Plant has a discharge permit that allows discharge into these waterways, however, the discharges into the local waterways was done on an urgent basis without the same level of data gathering required in the Treatment Plant’s permit due to the emergency nature of the operation. Access to this pond for monitoring the discharge conditions continues to be limited due to high floodwaters. 
  • Additionally, current forecasts suggest another atmospheric river is scheduled to bring more precipitation to the area beginning March 5th, which could further strain the Treatment Plant’s ability to treat water and to store recycled water. Staff continue to evaluate the situation and available options to manage treatment, discharge and storage, as necessary to continue essential operations at the Treatment Plant. Once floodwaters recede, staff will be better able to assess conditions and identify any necessary resources.


Atmospheric River Impacting Sonoma County from 2/25 - 2/27 (updated 2/27/19)

  • An atmospheric river will bring periods of moderate to heavy rain to the region through Tuesday night. Heaviest rainfall is expected across the North Bay where flooding potential is highest.
  • An areal Flood Warning is in effect for all of Sonoma County through 10:45 AM Wednesday (2/27). Avoid creeks, streams and rivers. 
  •  A Flood Watch is in effect through Wednesday (2/27) for Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties.
  • Forecast rainfall totals during this period of time will range from 3 to 6 inches near the coast and in the valleys of the North Bay, and from 5 to 9 inches in the hills and mountains of the North Bay. 
  • A Wind Advisory in effect for the higher elevations of Sonoma County until 3 AM Wednesday (2/27). 
  • Do not drive through flooded and or closed roadways.
  • Report downed power lines to 911.
  • Prepare for power outages and ensure your cellphone is charged, turned on and set to receive emergency alerts.
  • RESIDENTS IN AND AROUND BURN SCARS AREAS OF OCTOBER 2017 FIRES, PLEASE ENSURE YOU’RE PREPARED -- REFER TO INFORMATION BELOW.

To learn more about what you can do to prepare for storm weather, please review the Emergency Preparedness Information below.

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Emergency Preparedness Information

Rain Ready Information for Wet Weather Season

National Weather Service Warning System:

  • The National Weather Service issues weather advisories and watches when the weather forecast indicates there is a potential for hazardous conditions. Watches and advisories are shared online at https://www.weather.gov/alerts, and on the National Weather Service social media Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Sign up for Sonoma County Emergency Alerts:

  • Sign up to receive emergency notifications at SoCoAlert.com. SoCoAlert will be used to send an emergency notification if there is an imminent threat to life or property.

Weather Emergency Radios

  • In areas where there is limited cell service, or if a power outage occurs, Emergency Warnings from the National Weather Service will be announced on the Weather Emergency Radios, which rely on batteries.

Emergency public hotlines - Flood, sanitation, streams maintenance

Flood Forecast Hotline: (707) 526-4768

The Flood Forecast is a recording that provides updates on local river conditions. The recordings are updated by the Sonoma County Water Agency as conditions change.

Stream Maintenance: (707) 521-1845

Report any stream related issues, such as debris or stream channel changes, to prevent localized flooding.

Sand and Sandbags Available for City Residents to Control Rain-Run-off on Properties

Each year, the City's Sandbag Station is available to residents throughout the rainy season. If you need to control rain run-off on your property, sand and bags are available for City residents at the City Municipal Services Center at 55 Stony Point Road. The yard is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Materials are available throughout the entire rain season, not only during storm events. Simply by showing your ID to verify your City of Santa Rosa address, City residents can drive into the Municipal Services Center Yard and access the sandbag filling station. There is no charge for City residents to utilize the Sandbag Station.  Shovels will be on hand for residents to fill bags with sand. Residents should plan to transport the sandbags in a vehicle they don't mind getting dirty and should note that the sand has been stored outdoors so the sandbags may be heavy and muddy to transport.
Questions? Contact 707-543-3800 M-F 8am-5pm, or 707-543-3805 on weekends and after-hours.

Important Rain-Ready Information for Property Owners Whose Properties are Located Within or Around the Wildfire Burn Scar Area

A multi-agency analysis of the 2017 wildfire damage found that properties located within fire burn areas may still be at risk for flash floods, mudflows and debris flows. To familiarize yourself with the potential hazards associated with the burned areas please view the Post-Fire Hazard Assessment Map. Residents who live in areas identified as at medium and high-risk of flash flooding, debris and mud flows  were mailed information that can be seen here

What Property Owners Can Do To Be Prepared

The National Weather Service expects debris flows to become more likely during periods of intense rainfall. Be prepared by:

  • Identifying vulnerable areas on your property.
  • Using erosion control techniques, such as installing wattles and rock bags, and clearing fire-related debris from creeks and drainages to reduce flooding.
  • Have an evacuation and emergency plan ready.
  • Keep your cell phone turned on at all times to receive emergency alerts.

Stay Informed

  • Sonoma Water has installed rainfall and stream gauges in watersheds in burned areas and is working to install radar equipment to improve early warning forecasts for residents in high-risk areas. Use this link for real-time data: www.sonoma.onerain.com

National Weather Service Warning System:

  • The National Weather Service issues weather advisories and watches when the weather forecast indicates there is a potential for hazardous conditions. Watches and advisories are shared online at https://www.weather.gov/alerts, and on the National Weather Service social media Facebook and Twitter feeds.
  • Warning: The National Weather Service will issue a Warning if hazardous conditions are imminent or occurring within the burn areas.
  • The National Weather Service sends Warnings over the Wireless Emergency Alerts system that will send a message to all cell phones in the burn areas and will also send out alerts through the Emergency Alert System that broadcasts on radios and televisions.

Visit sonomacountyrecovers.org/rain-ready, for additional property owner resources and information on preparing for rainy weather in fire-impacted areas.

Power Outages

  1. Preparing for a Power Outage
  2. What to Do Once the Power Goes Out
Preparing for a Power Outage
  • Build or restock your emergency supply kit. Stock supplies to last a week, including flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid supplies and cash.
  • Plan for any medical needs for you and your family. 
  • Talk with your doctor about planning for any medications that may need to be refrigerated or medical devices that require power.
  • Store emergency water and food in portable containers. 
  • Have enough water and food to last a week. Store in portable, waterproof containers in an easy-to-reach location.
  • Identify backup charging methods for phones. Consider alternative charging methods such as portable battery packs for phones and other devices that require power.
  • Create and practice an emergency plan. Make sure everyone in your home knows what to do by practicing your emergency plan several times.Print and store an emergency contact list outside of your phone. In the event your phone battery dies, make sure every member of your family has a copy of important phone numbers.
  • Evaluate your home. Install and replace batteries in smoke alarms, and locate and know how to use fire extinguishers.
  • Know how to open your garage door manually. Learn and practice opening your garage door using the manual release lever.
  • Keep your gas tank full or your car charged. Gas stations rely on electricity to pump gas, so try to keep your gas tank full in case of an outage. If you have an electric vehicle, keep it charged.
  • Keep ice on hand to keep food cold. Freeze water in plastic jugs so you can use them to keep food cold during a temporary outage.
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Important Information in the Event of an Emergency

  1. What You Can Do on Your Own
  2. During an Emergency
  3. Evacuation
  4. Sheltering
  5. Transportation
  6. Hospitals
  7. Fire Stations
  8. Local Resources
  9. Non-Emergency Numbers

What You Can Do on Your Own

Guides & Resources for Emergency Preparation