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Manteca can save green & be green by going purple

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POSTED April 21, 2009 1:59 a.m.
It’s an opportunity of a lifetime. Manteca has the backbone of a solution in place that could help keep down future municipal costs to maintain parks and civic landscaping as well as large expanses of school grass plus reduce consumption of precious drinking water.
The solution is in the form of about four miles of purple pipe that runs from midway on Moffat Boulevard, down along the Highway 120 Bypass and up to the wastewater treatment plant. It was originally put in place to ferry agricultural waste – from the washing of peppers in a separate line to the treatment plant site where it would have been put in a holding pond until it could be applied to nearby crops that thrive on the nitrate laden water that raised havoc at the treatment plant.
The system could very easily be reversed if it is no longer needed in the future by Eckert’s Cold Storage. Treated water from wastewater plant – which is cleaner than water in the San Joaquin River and perfectly fine to apply to landscaping – could be stored in the pond and flowed out to various locations in Manteca.
The state water quality control folks have to give Manteca the green light first.
Meanwhile, the city has been weaning off as many parks as they can each year from the domestic water aquifer or from treated surface water by installing pumps that tap into the higher water levels. The water found there is not suitable for drinking.
Eventually it would make sense to take as many parks off wells as possible since treated surface water doesn’t deplete the domestic water supply nor does it have to be pumped from the ground which consumes power and money.
City leaders eventually hope to landscape the Highway 120 Bypass corridor and use that water to keep it green. The current location of the pipelines offers a long list of possible uses that could be reached with spurs off of it – Woodward Park, Veritas School, Spreckels Recreation Park, the private Spreckels Park landscaping district, the Moffat Boulevard storm retention park, Brock Elliott School, Lincoln School, Lincoln Park, Manteca High, Library Park, part of the Tidewater landscaping, Walnut Park, Northgate Park,  East Union High, Neil Hefley School, and the future extension of the Tidewater north of Lathrop Road.
It isn’t an all inclusive list by far as putting a separate purple pipe in the ground would be able to reach the Manteca golf course, Sierra High, and McParland School to name a few.
The question is how do you pay for extending the purple pipe up along the Tidewater, putting in spurs, placing a new line along Airport Way or putting in place connections and separating sprinkler systems at various parks and schools from the city system?
Given the fact that water is downright expensive - $15,500 alone to water the existing landscaping along Union Road and Airport Way by Del Webb at Woodbridge each year – one could probably piece together loan packages that secure the funds needed for a certain location to pay its fair share of a purple pipe and simply use existing water expenditures to cover the loan payments until it is paid in full. Then once that is done, there is essential free water much as the principle of financing a solar system to generate electricity.
Reducing treated water use for large expanses of landscaping also increases the practical capacity of the city’s share of the surface water treatment plant.
A really progressive city would require future residential developments to have purple pipe for front yard landscaping just like Ripon does in part of its city. The non-potable water for that purple pipe system is coming from the old Nestle plant with the system cost covered by the firm’s need to meet state water standards.
Manteca could get ahead of the curve and start requiring purple pipe to be placed in major streets as they develop with lines to front yards and future parks. It is more money up front but in the end it reduces the cost of government significantly in the long-run and reduces the strain on underground water supplies as well as stops using expensive treated surface water to irrigate landscaping and grass.

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

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