Campus-Wide Infrastructure & Services


Power & Lights

UC Davis manages its own electrical substation to provide power to nearly all campus facilities.  This unit manages the high-voltage distribution system, exterior lighting systems, and backup diesel generators.

High Voltage 

We maintain and operate all systems and devices at the 115 kV Main Substation, and all systems and devices on the 12 kV underground and overhead distribution systems on the Core, West, and South Campuses.  We are responsible for wire or cable from the building transformer up to the building’s Main Switchgear. 

Exterior Lighting & Traffic Signals 

We maintain and operate all exterior lighting systems and devices. This includes street lights, path lights, courtyard lights, the Rec Field lights, tennis court lights, parking lot & structure lights, and building exterior wall pack lights. In addition, we maintain the 5 traffic signal systems on campus.

Emergency Generators

We maintain and operate over 130 emergency generator systems and devices. This includes the generator, fuel systems, and automatic transfer switches. The generator provides backup power to the building’s emergency electrical panels.  The BMS Electrical Department is responsible for the building's emergency electrical panels.

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Water & Gas

UC Davis has its own city-scale water systems to provide the campus with water for domestic use, industrial applications, fire-fighting, and irrigation. This operational unit also maintains the campus natural gas network and swimming pools and provides centralized support for utility system instrumentation and control functions. 

The Operation, Support, and Maintenance of Water Systems

Our state-certified staff assures compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.

  • Domestic, Utility, and Agricultural Water Systems
  • On-Campus Swimming Pools: Schaal, Recreation & Hickey Pools
  • Water supply support for other departmental wells for fishery and agricultural programs
  • Support for Russell Ranch Irrigation Systems, the wastewater & storm drain collection systems, the chilled water distribution, and various campus research projects

View the latest Water Quality Report

View the archive of Water Quality Reports
Read about Ground and Surface Water

Natural Gas Operation & Maintenance Support
  • Hands-on checks and testing of the systems
  • Utilization of sophisticated automated monitoring and control systems
  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and operation of heavy equipment
Important notice to lab personnel and others on campus who run water through special equipment: The campus is receiving less surface water from the Sacramento River than normal, by order of the state Department of Water Resources, citing insufficient precipitation. As a result, Facilities Management is mixing more groundwater into the campus’s water supply. Learn more

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Wastewater & Solid Waste

Our campus has a Waste Water Treatment plant for wastewater treatment prior to release into Putah Creek to minimize environmental impact. We have interconnected sewer and drainage systems to redirect stormwater and mitigate flooding. At the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester, organic waste is transformed into electricity supply for the campus grid.

The Waste Water Treatment Plant

With over 30,000 students, faculty, and staff combined, UC Davis generates approximately 1.2 million gallons of wastewater each day. The Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in the South UC Davis campus was built in 2000 in order to accommodate the growing campus population and its wastewater production.

A sanitary sewer collection system across the 5,300-acre campus carries wastewater that is flushed or poured down the drain from all campus facilities to the treatment plant for processing. The overall treatment process is made up of six rigorous steps that sanitize the wastewater before releasing it into Putah Creek to minimize our biological and environmental impact.

View the Sewer Disposal Guidelines

Solid Waste

On average, the campus generates 25,000 tons of solid waste material per year, in which 6,100 tons of material is landfilled. For guidelines on what can go to the Yolo County landfill, see the A-Z Waste Acceptability list.

UC Davis Solid Waste services include:

  • collection and disposal of non-hazardous refuse for state-funded departments on campus
  • collection and disposal of waste from non-state funded departments
  • collection and disposal of large volumes of animal bedding material waste (straw)
  • transportation and disposal of refuse generated on campus to the Yolo County Landfill
  • collection of recyclable cardboard, metals, paper, glass, cans, and plastics and delivery to an off-site vendor who pays prevailing rates for the material

Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) can not be included in ordinary trash for landfill disposal. Anyone who generates HHW has “cradle to grave responsibility” and must dispose of it properly. UC Davis campus is not eligible to take HHW to the Yolo County Central Landfill and contracts with a third party for routine material pickup.

  • Common HHW Items
  • Acids
    Automotive products
    Brake / transmission fluid
    Electric switches / relays
    Electronic devices with a circuit board (e-waste)

    Fire extinguishers
    Fluorescent bulbs and tubes
    Gasoline and flammables
    Household cleaners
    Medical waste
    Mercury thermometers
    Paints (latex or oil based)

    Pesticides and herbicides
    Pilot light sensors
    Propane tanks
    Unknown cylinders
    Unknown substances
    Used motor oil and filters

  • Specific Guidelines for Staff/Faculty Office and Lab Occupants
  • Utilize the WASTe system:
    Contact Safety Services for additional assistance at 530-754-5058,
  • Specific Guidelines for Segundo, Tercero, and Cuarto Residents
  • Please refer to this flyer.
  • Specific Guidelines for Public and Private Partnerships (P3)
  • Please refer to this flyer.
    The following buildings are owned/operated by third parties who must arrange for routine proper pickup and disposal by an outside vendor. Residents living in the buildings should contact the management company for that location for proper disposal of HHW. 

    8th & Wake
    Domes at Baggins End
    Hyatt Hotel
    La Rue Park

    Orchard Park
    Primero Grove
    Russel Park
    The Atriums

    The Colleges at La Rue
    West Village (Sol)
    West Village (The Green)

Storm Drainage

Thanks to the temperate Northern California weather, Davis does not often experience heavy storms. However, our campus is well prepared with an extensive storm drainage system that will redirect any rainwater and water runoffs into the UC Davis Arboretum waterway to prevent potential flooding. 

With over 80 miles of pipes underneath our 5,300-acre campus, diligent maintenance is critical to the campus operation. Our Utilities staff regularly survey each section of the storm drainage for potential repairs or blockage. Oil sheen removers are installed at each of the drainage inlets to prevent oil contamination within the Arboretum waterway. 

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Central Heating & Cooling

The Central Heating & Cooling Plant generates and distributes high-pressure steam, hot water, and chilled water through a district energy system to heat and cool over 8 million square feet of building space. The distribution system includes 27 miles of steam pipeline and 27 miles of chilled water pipeline. 


Buildings that are connected to the district energy system are currently heated by steam production. Central Plant staff ensures that there is enough steam production based on pressure, and manages boiler capacity and plant functions. Large carbon emission is a byproduct of steam production, and UC Davis is looking into ways to reduce the campus's carbon footprint by switching over to hot water heating in the future.


Chilled water loops are also connected to the district energy system to provide cooling to campus buildings. In order to provide uninterrupted service of chilled water, the Central Plant staff takes energy efficiency, equipment availability, and campus feedback into consideration. Chilled Water production includes the CHCP,  the Thermal Energy Storage, and 5 water towers.

See real-time energy production and usage at the CHCP on the

Campus Energy Education Dashboard

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Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ)

The Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester combines landfill gases with the produced biogas to produce 5.6 million kWh per year of clean energy. Roughly 13,500 tons of greenhouse gas emission a year is expected to be offset from this production. This renewable energy system helps lighten the university's high solid waste production by diverting 20,000 tons of waste from local landfills each year while generating clean, renewable energy in a sustainable manner. 

READ accepts organic waste, or feedstock, from the university's dining commons, animal facilities and grounds, and outside partners like Raley's and the El Dorado Disposal Services. 

In order for UC Davis to accept feedstock for READ, customers must complete the Feedstock Agreement form and submit it when delivering for the first time. If the customer producing the feedstock and the hauler remain the same, additional forms are not required for subsequent loads. Please refer to the READ Facility Billing Memo, and email with any billing questions. 

Feedstock not accepted at the READ facility: 

  • Ceramics
  • Clothing/rags
  • Concrete
  • Glass
  • Hazardous materials
  • Metals (aluminum cans are OK)
  • Paint
  • Rubber
  • Straws
  • Styrofoam
  • Wood

Current Rates at the READ Facility

UC Davis Customers 
Rate Type$ Per Unit
Liquid Disposal$0.14 / gallon
Tier 1$72 / ton
Tier 2$63 / ton
Tier 3$56 / ton
Non-UC Davis Customers
Rate Type$ Per Unit
Liquid Disposal$0.15 / gallon
Tier 1$80 / ton
Tier 2$70 / ton
Tier 3$62 / ton

Tiers of acceptable materials, each tier represents degrees of unacceptable contaminants in the load.
Tier 1: Low Grade, >5% contamination
Tier 2: Medium Grade, 1%-5% contamination
Tier 3: High Grade, <1% contamination


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