In response to State red tape the prevented the Contra Costa Transportation Agency from using recycled water on the Highway 4-160 Connector Project, Supervisor Mary Peipho called on the State to allow recycled water to be used as dust suppression.
Piepho made the announcement after CCTA waited nearly 4-months for a decision from the State for a decision. While they waited, potable drinking water was being used during a drought to limit dust.
“Legal or not, it is a crime to have dust control trucks pulling up to fire hydrants through out the State and filling up with our precious fresh potable drinking water for use on construction sites. In the fourth year of a statewide drought, we have other more intelligent and efficient alternatives available to us. We have easy and affordable access to highly treated recycled water that is quite literally being given away for free.”
“The State of California should clearly be incentivizing the use of this high quality recycled water for soil compaction and dust suppression on our roadways and on construction sites. I understand that currently it takes months to determine if, and when, recycled water can be used for dust suppression. Multiple agencies are having to weigh in and are complicating what should be an easy answer, “Yes!” Use recycled when whenever it is available. The barriers and bureaucratic hurdles must be removed so that when the construction trucks roll up, the answer is yes.”
In addition to making it easier under existing regulations to use recycled water for dust suppression trucks to access recycled water, the State of California should consider changing its regulations from “allow” to “require” the use of highly treated recycled water for larger projects when it is accessible.
“On one hand the State is telling the cities, water districts and residents throughout the State to cut back on the use of drinking water 25-30% and, on the other hand, they are putting up regulatory barriers requiring our precious drinking water to be used on dirt.
“If it is safe enough for watering our tomato plants and lemon trees then we should require it be used for dust suppression and other construction related uses.”
“We are now using recycled water on connector ramps. We have been working on this for 3-months to get approvals to use recycled water. We started this process along time ago. It’s not as easy as going up to a tank and filling up,” says Iwasaki. “We have all the necessary approvals from Ironhouse Sanitary District and the contract is signed along with the agreements being done with what we can use on the water on. All we wanted to use it for was dust pallets and knock down dust.”
Iwasaki stated he was glad they no longer have to use potable water because Ironhouse provides a nearby option for CCTA to be responsible with water use.
“We are trying to be ahead of the curve not behind it and we are paying for the water. We want taxpayers to feel comfortable we are using your tax dollars responsibly. I am proud to say we are using reclaimed and recycled water,” said Iwasaki.
“There has been an emergency declaration of when recycled water should be used over potable water, unfortunatly, there was no clear guidance on new technology so we acknowleged that when this came up and were receptive to that,” says Frazier. “We are working to remove further red tape for other agencies where this may come up if recycled water is available to use. In this case with CCTA, everything has been worked out and we are now working to get the process even better after maing some strides.”
A phone call and email to Ironhouse Sanitary District were not returned for comment on this agreement.