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Gray water part of green future for River Islands
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LATHROP - River Islands at Lathrop could end up as California’s greenest planned community.

Design standards for the builders who pass muster to build in the 10,800-home project on Lathrop’s Stewart Island may include:

•Gray water systems that take shower and bath water and reuse it to irrigate landscaping.

•Mini-solar farms sprinkled throughout the 4,800 acre development that each will provide enough power to run 100 homes each.

•Moisture sensors that control all front yard landscape irrigation as well as irrigation of public areas.

The aim is to make River Islands as self-sustaining as possible by reducing the need for both expensive treated water and expensive power.  Cambay Group also want to create an environmentally friendly community that they believe not only makes sense but will have strong appeal to young people due to being responsible  “green” and for older buyers who place value on reduced ongoing costs such as for water, power and wastewater service.

“We want to offer River Islands as a responsible way to live,” said project manager Susan Del’Osso.

 River Islands is able to accomplish those goals by stipulating what environmentally friendly upgrades homes need to be provided by builders beyond the state requirement.  Cambay Group has also established the Lathrop Irrigation District to exclusively serve River Islands.

Del’Osso said that while solar panels are effective ways of weaning typical homes off more expensive source of electricity most people do not like the looks of them on their roof tops. Also, standalone solar still tends to be expensive upfront even though over the course of 10 years it is typically paid off and then bills drop down to practically nothing. The aggregate cost drops with larger installations.

The Lathrop Irrigation District - that was put in place with the help of South San Joaquin Irrigation District’s power expertise - will build and maintain the mini-solar farms.

Del’Osso said they are also toying with the idea of retaining easement rights to the flat roof-tops of employment centers and larger retail buildings to put in place solar panels as well. It would be similar to systems currently on top of the target and Kohl’s stores in Manteca.

Cambay Group is acutely aware of how precious water is in California. They went through a significant effort during their 17-years struggle to get the 10,000-home Dougherty Valley development in Contra Costa County off the ground. Securing an adequate water supply upfront was one of the initial undertakings Cambay Group did for the River Islands project.

Del’Osso said the need to stretch water as the state grows is an obvious concern.

That is why the moisture sensors are being required as well as developing gray water systems for recycling domestic bath and shower water for landscape use.

“It will take us educating and encouraging people who live here to use biodegradable detergents,” Del’Osso said.

Del’Osso added she didn’t think that would be difficult given the growing concern and commitment Californians have to be more green friendly.

Del’Osso noted landscape irrigation is by far the largest use of domestic treated water.

In addition to the pro-active green measures, the entire 4,800- acre project is being designed to utilize a passive filtering system for cleansing storm run-off. Virtually all of the run-off will flow into interior manmade lakes. They will have large expansive storm water filtering areas where run-off will be discharged on a sandy area to seep through it to filter our larger particles before it reaches the lake. Several such natural filtration systems are in place and the water in the lakes they feed is extremely clear.

It also avoids and possible conflicts with tougher discharge rules that may impact storm run-off from urban areas flowing into the Delta.