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Jack Duran, District 1 Update

District 1 Update July 2015
Jack Duran, Supervisor District 1

The use of recycled water is a little-known, but important drought-fighting tool that shows enormous potential for the future. 

California’s drought is on everyone’s minds these days. In a recent poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, the public ranked the drought as the state’s most critical issue for the first time, placing it ahead of jobs and the economy.  

The use of recycled water is on my mind for two reasons: it offers great promise for helping us manage our water supply and Placer County’s supply of recycled water is about to increase significantly. Its appeal is obvious: using treated wastewater to irrigate our parks, school grounds, commercial properties and some farmlands can significantly reduce our county’s demand for water.

Already, wastewater from unincorporated areas such as Granite Bay and Horseshoe Bar is being treated at the South Placer Wastewater Authority (SPWA) treatment plant in Roseville, of which I serve as a Director, and available for immediate reuse. Recycled water will become even more important for irrigation purposes as approved developments such as Placer Vineyards and Riolo Vineyards are built in West Placer.

The supply of recycled water will increase dramatically when the Mid-Western Placer Regional Sewer Project is completed later this year. The project will pump wastewater from North Auburn for treatment at the City of Lincoln’s wastewater treatment plant north of Fiddyment Road.  The project has the potential to provide the county with about 1.6 million gallons of treated wastewater per day that can be reused for irrigation.  The County owns its proportional share of reclaimed water from both SPWA and the Lincoln treatment plants.

The County’s Parks and Grounds Division has not used reclaimed water in county parks in the past, but is planning to do so in Dry Creek Community Park west of Roseville.  The County expects infrastructure costs to be substantial, but anticipates a large savings once it starts using recycled water to irrigate the park. It hopes to have a reclaimed water system in place in about two years.

Placer County currently does not receive requests for new homes with built-in systems to use recycled water for irrigation and other purposes or proposals to retrofit existing homes, but supports the concept and has state standards in place to evaluate future proposals.  However, County building codes require builders to install low flow sprinkler heads, water cisterns and other low and no water use landscaping.  New homes are also required to utilize technologically advanced water fixtures such as low capacity, highly efficient, toilets faucets and water heaters.  Riolo Vineyards, an approved development off PFE Road in West Placer, has expressed interest in using reclaimed water to irrigate landscaping for individual homes.  I have also initiated discussions with the North State Builders Association, the area’s trade organization for land developers, concerning their thoughts on better addressing water conservation in approved and future developments.  I am also in favor of developing a County-wide program to assist owners of older homes to install and utilize technologically efficient plumbing fixtures. These thoughts are at the beginning stages of development and I appreciate your ideas and assistance as we move forward.

In the short term, increasing our use of recycled water can be an important tool for combating the drought. In the long term, it has the potential to radically change how we manage our water supply.

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you. I always welcome your feedback and can be reached by e-mail at jduran@placer.ca.gov or by phone at 916-787-8950. 

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