The council voted unanimously on June 5 to seek out a consultant to determine the costs, water sterilization techniques and logistics of pumping between 300 and 400 thousand gallons of recycled wastewater to the golf course each day.
According to City Councilwoman Donna Lind, the deal would be a win for the city, the golf course, and the environment.
Currently, she said, only a small fraction the city’s treated wastewater is used for irrigation, simply due to lack of customers, even though customers pay 20 percent less than for potable water.
“The plant generates a great deal of water and it’s wasted, basically,” Lind said. “About 70 percent of capacity is not used.”
Tertiary water is treated and sterilized with ultraviolet light and can be used to water plants, as opposed to secondary water which is treated with chlorine and pumped into the ocean.
Lind said that Scotts Valley’s wastewater treatment facility, which processes as much as 1 million gallons of wastewater daily, has no other outlet for the bulk of its treated water other than to discharge it into the ocean via a pipeline that follows Graham Hill Road to Santa Cruz.
“We don’t have enough customers to use what we generate,” she said. “There’s no way to store that, so it goes to the ocean.”
Scott Hoyt, general manager for Pasatiempo, said that the golf club’s goal is to “secure long-term water security.”
He said that the golf course’s greens currently are watered with potable water from the increasingly conservation-conscious Santa Cruz Water District and an on-site well. Recurring drought conditions have made recycled water usage all the more appealing.
“There’s an ongoing and continual threat of a water shortage,” he said.
Hoyt said that much of the infrastructure to begin bringing recycled water to Pasatiempo is already largely in place, including a branch off the Graham Hill Road drainage pipeline that follows Sims Road toward the golf course.
Should the plan move forward, he said, Pasatiempo would receive water from Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, and its own well, storing it in a large holding tank.
“(Water) would be one thing we’d never have to worry about again,” he said.
Relatively few changes would need to be made in order to supply the course with tertiary treated water, Hoyt said.
Should the deal proceed, he said, the wastewater treatment plant would need to begin treating the water headed along the Graham Hill pipeline to a tertiary level, requiring sterilization of the existing pipes.
“With minor modification, they can begin shipping the treated water to us,” he said.
Wastewater, recreation budgets relatively stable
At the same June 5 meeting, the city council began hearing the initial budget forecasts for the 2013-14 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
While the next year’s budget won’t be approved until the council’s June 19 meeting, the city’s wastewater and recycling budget predicted a reasonably stable budget, citing increased fee revenue for a proposed $1.7 million budget.
For its part, the city’s recreation department’s $775,000 budget proposal shears nearly $50,000 from last year’s $140,000 deficit, due in part to increased facility rentals and modified staff scheduling. For information, visit www.scottsvalley.org.
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