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Project using non-potable water for landscaping, park

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POSTED February 24, 2012 1:13 a.m.

Yosemite Square - a proposed development of 1,024 housing units and a 31.2-acre business park - is being required to use non-potable water for a planned 7-acre park and all public landscaping.

The project envisioned for the northeast corner of the 120 Bypass and Highway 99 interchange bordering Austin Road on the west will be required to install purple pipe for the movement of reclaimed water.

Initially, the park and public landscaping will be irrigated with a shallow well put in place by the developer for that purpose. The higher water table is rich in nitrates and unsuitable for drinking but safe for irrigation. The city pumps its domestic water from an aquifer much deeper in the earth.

When reclaimed wastewater is available, the purple pipe will be connected to a distribution system carrying that water.

The city has received authorization from the state to use treated wastewater to irrigate the fields at the Big League Dreams sports park and nearby Stadium Retail Center. Both sites are now served by a shallow irrigation well as are many parks in Manteca. Since the cost is still less expensive to irrigate from the shallow water table the city hasn’t switched over to the recycled water.

The water table is high in many parts of Manteca with construction crews in some spots hitting water within five feet of the surface. As long as the non-potable water table is that high, it will likely remain more efficient to use it to irrigate than put in place purple pipe to transport recycled water from the wastewater treatment plant.

The 1,673-home Trails at Manteca approved in southwest Manteca at the western end of Woodward Avenue will have purple pipe in place as well. It too will likely be serviced by shallow wells for irrigation until such time it is not cost effective.

By switching public landscaping and parks to shallow wells, the city is able to avoid consuming more expensive treated water for that purpose which in turn frees up more water for growth.

Irrigation is by far the biggest users of domestic treated water in Manteca.

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