The advancement of a $2.3 million project to landscape large swaths of the Highway 99 and Highway 120 Bypass corridors through Manteca could end up saving the general fund money by reducing water costs for park irrigation.
That’s because the project may provide a large enough scale for the need for water that the city will be able to proceed with its plans to use treated wastewater to irrigate landscaping.
The city already has purple pipe running from its final treatment pond to purple water hydrants near the entrance to the wastewater plant off West Yosemite Avenue. Developers that need large amounts of water for dust control can hook water trucks up to the hydrants and use the water for free.
“It depends a lot on how much they need, travel time and fuel costs,” noted Public Works Director Mark Houghton as to whether construction crews will use the treated recycled wastewater.
When water trucks hook up to regular fire hydrants they are metered and the firms must pay for the water they use.
Purple is the universal designation for pipe and water faucets that carry water for irrigation only.
Pipe is already in place to allow the Big League Dreams sports complex plus Stadium Retail Center landscaping and its fountain to use treated wastewater.
The city eventually plans to convert as many large areas such as parks as economically feasible to irrigate using treated wastewater.
It is common practice in Southern California especially in desert communities such as Palm Springs where everything from golf courses to parks are kept green that way.
The benefits are three-fold. It reduces the use of expensive treated water to irrigate grass or the use ground water that costs money to pump. In doing so it stretches the water supply and slows down the depletion rate since lawn and landscape irrigating is the highest use of water.
It also could ultimately reduce future water treatment costs for wastewater since the state could again increase the treatment standards.
Already once water goes through the wastewater treatment plant it is just one step from being drinkable. The water the city now returns to the San Joaquin River is significantly cleaner than what is flowing in the river.
The $2.3 million landscaping project stretches from Austin Road to French Camp Road on the Highway 99 corridor and from Highway 99 to Interstate 5 along the 120 Bypass corridors.
It will involve over 5,400 trees, 3,900 shrubs, and 28,700 cubic yards of mulch and 500,000 square feet of hydro seed for grass as well as irrigation systems to support the plantings. The project also includes planting of vines along sound walls in a bid to soften the look and reduce the need for graffiti abatement.
All of that is in addition to the $1.4 million bid already awarded to landscape the interchanges on Highway 99 at the 120 Bypass as well as Yosemite Avenue. Actual work on the landscaping parts of those two interchanges will be starting within the month so plantings are tied to cooler weather.
The Highway 99 and 120 Bypass interchange will include 1,700 trees to bring the number of trees that will ultimately be planted along freeway corridors passing through Manteca to 7,100. To put that in perspective, there are 7,600 city-maintained street trees in all of Manteca plus 8,801 trees in the city’s 50 parks that includes the golf course and along the Tidewater Bikeway system.