This is part of our ongoing series about where taxpayer funds from 2016's Measure AA to restore the San Francisco Bay are going. Find all the stories here.
The parking lot outside of San Leandro’s Water Pollution Control Plant has a lingering stench. Its odor partly comes from the average 5 million gallons of wastewater it processes a day and from its neighbor, a trash dump.
A short walk away from the lot the smell subsides a little at a small patch of wetland. That's where I met up with plant manager Justin Jenson. He's showing me another project getting tax money from Measure AA, the "Clean and Healthy Bay" measure passed two years ago. To me, the area just looks like a neglected pond.
“This used to be a polishing pond,” says Jenson. “That means we used to actually send our treatment plant effluent out here and process it further.”
Effluent is the treated water that comes out of wastewater facilities. Jenson says, now, this 4.3 acre pond is basically just used as temporary water storage. But it has the potential to be so much more.