Hospital In California’s Drought Stricken Central Valley Will Use Recycled Water

Clovis_CommunityIn case you live in a bubble and don’t know that California is in the third year of one of its worst droughts, driving through many towns in the state this summer might give you a clue something is not normal. Many public properties feature brown lawns, as do many lawns in residential areas. The San Joaquin Valley is one area that is already dry due to its desert climate. Fresno, its biggest city, only received 4.87 inches of rain this year, 42 percent below average. Both Fresno and neighboring Clovis have outdoor water restrictions in place. Fresno residents can water three times a week while Fresno residents can only water two times a week. In one county over, a subdivision called Madera Ranchos is under stage four water restrictions and outdoor watering is banned.

Despite the severe drought restrictions, the Clovis Community Medical Center is undergoing a big landscaping project, slated to be completed in a few months. The 125 acre campus is landscaping about 50 acres, which will be irrigated with recycled water from the Clovis Recycled Water Project. The hospital’s use of recycled water will make it the biggest user of the water recycling facility and its first private partner. The use of recycled water allows the hospital to put in new landscaping featuring drought tolerant trees, grasses and shrubs.

As part of its landscaping project, the hospital also replaced the large areas of lawn in the front of the hospital with Bermuda grass, a drought tolerant variety that uses about 50 percent less water than other varieties. The lawn will also be irrigated with recycled water. Fifty miles of purple pipes, used to distinguish the recycled water from potable water, are being installed to deliver the recycled water. The city of Clovis will train hospital staff on how to correctly use the recycled water.

Clovis began operating the wastewater treatment plant, the first tertiary treatment plant in California, and water recycling system in 2009 and started produced up to 2.8 million gallons a day of recycled water. The 16-acre Clovis Water Reuse Facility contains over 25 miles of purple pipeline and three pump stations moving water to and from the facility. Clovis owns the plant but a private engineering firm, CH2M Hill, which designed and built it, will operate it through 2018. The water comes from the sewer system which is treated and disinfected. Recycled water is not used for human consumption.

For a city reliant mostly on groundwater, a recycled water plant makes sense. Levels of the regional aquifer have dropped more than 100 feet in the past 50 years. The recycled water plant gives the city access to a new water supply to irrigate landscaping. At the facility’s maximum capacity, it will produce up to 8.4 million gallons a day of recycled water. Through the use of recycled water, Clovis will be in a better position to meet its water needs over the next 25 to 30 years, while protecting groundwater, a precious resource in a desert climate. The city saves about 200,000 gallons of water a day by using recycled water, which is used to irrigate some of the city’s parks and landscaping along its roads.

Photo: Clovis Community Medical Center

Sources

  • http://www.communitymedical.org/news-events/news/innovative-project-clovis-community-saves-city-water
  • http://abc30.com/news/clovis-community-medical-center-answering-the-call-to-conserve-water/231835/
  • https://www.ci.clovis.ca.us/Departments-and-Services/Public-Utilities/Recycled-Water
  • http://www.yourcentralvalley.com/story/d/story/recycled-water-in-clovis-for-public-landscapes-sav/96179/xJbvz7wy00qrZsSzKBmG4w
  • http://www.cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reports/EXECSUM
  • https://www.ci.clovis.ca.us/Departments-and-Services/Public-Utilities/Drinking-Water/Water-Conservation
  • http://www.fresno.gov/government/departmentdirectory/publicutilities/watermanagement/conservation/schedule.Htm
  • http://www.yourcentralvalley.com/story/d/story/outdoor-watering-banned-in-area-of-madera-ranchos/39717/aayl1h4r302WqhHYwpaYYw

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