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Great Wolf uses 'purple water' to water landscape
great wolf purple pipe
The landscaping at the Great Wolf resort is the only place in Manteca where recycled wastewater is being used to irrigate turf and plants.

Great Wolf is the first — and only — user of treated waste water for landscaping in Manteca.

And — as Manteca looks at ways to make more efficient use of water resources — it won’t be the last.

Manteca has taken a slow approach to putting together a purple pipe distribution system to take advantage of the high level of treated water that comes from the city’s wastewater treatment facility

For years, the water has been used on  city property adjacent to the treatment plant where a farmer has leased the acreage to irrigate corn grown for silage for use at local dairies.

The treated water meets strict federal and state standards to be applied to various crops. It can be used on landscaping as well including grass at parks and playing fields.

That is the long range goal of the city that is in the process of devising a plan for the use of recycled water.

The city has been slowly preparing for the eventuality over the past two decades by requiring developers of new projects to put in place purple pipe that can ferry recycles water to irrigate neighborhood park and common landscaped areas.

In doing so, it expects to reduce the high cost of implementing a recycled water delivery system as well as to be in a position to step up recycled water use when it becomes essential.

The first purple pipe project was a 4-mile plus stretch from Eckert’s Cold Storage on Moffat Boulevard to the wastewater treatment plan paid for in 2001 by developers in exchange for being able to use freed up sewer capacity.

If Eckert’s ever went out of business, the city at the time the purple pipe was buried indicated they intended to use the 4-mile pipe that runs along the 120 Bypass to deliver irrigation water to nearby parks and schools and possible even irrigate landscaping along the freeway.

The other advantage that a purple pipe system has over shallow wells tapping into non-potable water: It doesn’t require electricity to power pumps to move the water.

The city is also spending money on energy already to treat wastewater to state standards before releasing it into the San Joaquin River. As a result, the city is dumping fairly expensive useable water into the river for others to use at no cost.

The latest purple pipe segments are  in new residential development projects from the edge of neighborhood parks to arterial streets where they will eventually connect with more purple pipe that will be buried to connect with the treatment plant.

The “new” water a functioning purple pipe system could ferry to parks, school play fields, and such in the form of wastewater— treated to the point a notch or so below being drinkable which is an expensive process to put in place — is significant.

Given outdoor water use is still about 50 percent of the city’s water consumption, even if only large turf areas that are allowed to be irrigated using potable water under state restrictions use recycled water instead, it would result in a large reduction of overall potable  water consumption by the city.

Great Wolf taps into a purple pipe that was installed by the city from the treatment plant and runs under the 120 Bypass to Atherton Drive using redevelopment agency funds more than 9 years ago.

It was designed to deliver reclaimed wastewater to large turf areas south of the 120 Bypass such as the park in the process of being put in place at Trails of Manteca.

It should be emphasized the recycled water is not used in the 500-room hotel or indoor water park.

 That said, Great Wolf recycles in excess of 98 percent of the water in the indoor water park through a cleansing process. The low loss rate is due to a temperate controlled indoor setting that allows Great Wolf to eliminate evaporation losses


To contact Denis Wyatt, email