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Purple fire hydrants in Manteca’s future

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POSTED April 21, 2009 1:40 a.m.
By DENNIS WYATT
Managing editor of the
Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin
Every time a typical water truck used for construction projects fills up from a municipal fire hydrant it is using enough water to supply the needs of an average Manteca household for 10 days.
In the future, though, contractors won’t be taking big 3,000-gallon-plus drinks from Manteca’s expensive treated water supply. They instead will travel to the Manteca wastewater treatment plant. There they will fill their trucks with recycled treated wastewater to use for everything from soil preparation to controlling dust.
“Sometime in the future as we get purple pipe in the ground we hope to have purple fire hydrants so that the water trucks won’t have to travel so far to the plant,” noted Deputy Director of Public Works Phil Govea.
The California Regional Water Quality Control Board gave their blessing to the plan two weeks ago. Now the only thing that is left to be done is set up an instructional class for contractors who will be ferrying the water.
The City Council embraced the plan as a way to reduce water consumption as part of its ongoing efforts to conserve water even before California entered its third year of drought. The move also eliminates construction projects from taking expensive treated municipal water.
It also will reduce construction costs as water taken from fire hydrants is metered with the developer paying the costs.
Other steps to reduce use of expensive treated water in recent years include converting parks over to shallow wells and disconnecting from the municipal system. The higher water tables they tap into consist of non-potable water. At the same time, by disconnecting parks from the system it increases nearby water pressure for residents.
Manteca already has two segments of purple pipe in the ground. One is the roughly four-mile Eckert’s line that has been used for two seasons to transport agricultural waste water to a pond at the treatment plant where it is then applied to crops that thrive using the nitrate laden water. In the future should Eckert’s no longer need the line, it could be reversed to carry treated water to water various parks located near the line.
The other is a line that goes down to Daniels Street from the treatment plant. It is designed to serve both the Big League Dreams sports complex as well as the Stadium Retail Center landscaping. Currently a shallow well at BLD is providing water for the baseball fields and landscaping.
Before Manteca can switch BLD over to treated wastewater they need to build a storage tank.
They also need to secure state approval to use treated wastewater for landscaping
In the future Govea said the city is considering putting a purple line down Airport Way to serve the golf course and other locales.
Currently, going to a purple pipe system doesn’t pencil out as power costs aren’t that prohibitive to operate shallow wells that keep the golf course green.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com

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