Purple Pipe: The next Mandate?

This is a new issue to keep a watch on. The key question is proper allocation of property owner taxes. Is reclaimed water funding more important than roads, sewer development, etc? Has an economic impact study been developed, or is the county going to just raise our water and sewer rates and implement a county wide purple piping system?

County leaders want more treatment plants to produce reclaimed water

PORT ORCHARD — Providers of water and sewer services in Kitsap County have begun working in concert toward a long-range goal of cleaning up sewage effluent and using it for irrigation, commercial applications and stream restoration.

During a water resources “summit” on Thursday, elected officials from water districts, cities and the county, along with other water experts, agreed that sewage-treatment plants should be upgraded over time to produce clean water suitable for anything but drinking.

Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown shared the county’s plans to upgrade the Central Kitsap Wastewater Treatment Plant near Brownsville to produce highly treated reclaimed water — up to 3.7 million gallons per day.

John Poppe, a commissioner with Silverdale Water District, explained how his district is already gearing up to move that reclaimed water through purple pipes and into the heart of Silverdale, and some of the pipes are already in the ground.

Poppe said the water can be used to irrigate parks and ball fields throughout Silverdale, and new buildings are already being built with purple pipe to allow toilets to be flushed with reclaimed water. The new Haselwood Family YMCA is one example, he said, and Harrison Medical Center’s approved orthopedic hospital has been designed with purple pipes running throughout the building.

While plans and funding are in place to upgrade the Central Kitsap plant, Brown said other upgrades are being considered in Kingston, where the water could be used to irrigate White Horse Golf Course and help augment stream flows and wetlands in Grovers Creek.

Kitsap County’s other sewage-treatment plants in Suquamish and Manchester could be upgraded in the future, he said, but uses for those waters have not been determined.

West Sound Utility District already produces water clean enough for irrigation and has installed purple pipe along Retsil Road near the treatment plant. Putting that water to beneficial use involves discussions with those who can use the water — including officials at Retsil Veterans Home and Kitsap County’s Veterans Memorial Park.

While no firm decisions were made at Thursday’s summit, participants seemed to agree that all water-related groups in Kitsap County should be working together. Needed are uniform policies and standards at the local level, better regulations at the state level, and increased public education at all levels.

By Christopher Dunagan Friday, April 6, 2012

Read the Full  Kitsap Sun Article here

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