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City invests in Regional Recycled Water Project

POSTED March 11, 2011 10:40 p.m.

The groundbreaking North Valley Regional Recycled Water Project took a step toward reality Tuesday night, when the Turlock City Council unanimously voted to apply for a grant to help fund a needed feasibility study.

The city expects the Bureau of Reclamation to approve the grant application, as the project has already garnered much attention in Washington, D.C.

“Based on my involvement when I was in D.C., this is truly a bipartisan effort,” Turlock Mayor John Lazar said. “... I was very encouraged by the support that seems to be brewing there.”

The project, which looks to pipe treated wastewater from Turlock and Modesto’s treatment plants to water-starved farmers in the Westside’s Del Puerto Irrigation District, is still in the planning stages. But completing a feasibility study is an important step toward the ultimate goal of applying for an additional $25 million grant to make the project possible.

The partners in the group – the City of Modesto, the Del Puerto Irrigation District, the City of Ceres and the City of Turlock – will expend about $793,000 in total for the feasibility study. Turlock’s study will cost a total of $282,000. If approved, the grant will pay for half of the study’s cost, or $141,000.

But, if the project becomes a reality, it could become a money-making venture for Turlock, selling currently-worthless treated wastewater to farmers on the Westside.

“This is the only recycled project in the state that will actually generate revenue,” Turlock Municipal Services Director Dan Madden said.

 

On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council also:

·         Approved a five-year capital improvement plan and five-year equipment replacement program for the City of Turlock. The items identified on Tuesday range from infrastructure such as sewers and storm drains to core equipment such as police vehicles, fire apparatus, computers, scanners, and phones.
Turlock has not invested in its equipment replacement funds for the past two budgets as a money-saving measure. The city may dip into its general fund reserve account to pay for the previously unfunded equipment replacement.

The plans approved Tuesday project $210.9 million in needed capital improvement projects over the next five to seven years, $46,500 which will be attributed to the general fund. A further $5.4 million in capital equipment needs were identified over the next five years, including $3.3 million in general fund costs.

·         Issued a proclamation in honor of Go Green Week, from March 7 through 13.

·         Heard a presentation on the Choose Civility Initiative from Tom Changnon, superintendant of the Stanislaus County Office of Education, and issued a proclamation recognizing the initiative. Later, the council took action to join the initiative, which looks to promote civil words and actions throughout the county.

·         Approved a first reading of an amendment to the City of Turlock claims process, which primarily looks to codify the “pay first, litigate later,” practice. The amendment will come before the council for a final decision on March 21.

·         Received a briefing on upcoming recreation tournaments.

·         Received a briefing from California State University, Stanislaus ASI Vice President External Pamela Contreras on events at the university. Students passed a bylaw referendum last week, and will travel to Sacramento on Monday for the March in March to lobby legislators for additional CSU funding in the upcoming budget.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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