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Sunday, February 17 , 2019, 2:15 pm | Light Rain 55º


Goleta Launches Recycled Water Delivery Program for South Coast Customers

Consumers in other districts can buy into Goleta Water District’s trucked-water operation, with permission from their own agencies

The Goleta Water District is offering recycled water delivery for customers on the South Coast who aren’t hooked up to the distribution pipelines. “We’re serious about it ...,” says Ryan Drake, the district’s water supply and conservation manager. “Everybody across the state is realizing it’s a potential new supply source.” Click to view larger
The Goleta Water District is offering recycled water delivery for customers on the South Coast who aren’t hooked up to the distribution pipelines. “We’re serious about it ...,” says Ryan Drake, the district’s water supply and conservation manager. “Everybody across the state is realizing it’s a potential new supply source.” (Giana Magnoli / Noozhawk photo)

The Goleta Water District got its final approvals to truck recycled water to customers who aren’t hooked up to the “purple pipe” distribution system, hoping to cut down on potable water use on the South Coast.

The program offers the 2,000-gallon truck deliveries to anyone on the South Coast, as long as the local water agency agrees to a mutual aid contract.

The Goleta Water District doesn’t have any customers yet but there has been interest from schools, the Goleta Cemetery District and Santa Barbara County, which would use the water to irrigate street medians, said Ryan Drake, the district’s water supply and conservation manager.

Recycled water by truck will be more expensive than the recycled water delivered through the pipelines because of staff and fuel costs, Drake said. Because of that, there have been few takers so far.

Delivery charges range from $60 for in-district customers to $205 for customers in the Carpinteria Valley Water District. Fees also include a commodity charge of $4.58 per hundred-cubic-feet and a water application charge of $70 per hour.

Normal recycled water rates are $3.26 per HCF plus meter charges and a drought surcharge of $2.60 per HCF.

There are 7.48 gallons in a cubic foot and 748.05 gallons in 100 cubic feet.

Goleta’s trucked water is available to any jurisdiction on the South Coast, Drake said.

“But Montecito was the first test case of that, and it didn’t want to cooperate on the terms required,” he said.

There have been requests from customers in Montecito who are paying for trucked potable water, but the Montecito Water District had objections to the interagency mutual aid contract.

In a letter from MWD general manager Tom Mosby, the district said it wanted Goleta to manage the program directly with Montecito customers, to identify them and check connections to see if backflow devices are needed to prevent contamination of the potable water supply.

Montecito also wanted indemnification language protecting the district from any potential claims from the application of Goleta Water District recycled water within Montecito’s boundaries.

Goleta says its program approvals — from the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board and the state Division of Drinking Water Programs — require the collaboration between districts.

It would be “inappropriate” for Goleta to assume all liability in another agency’s service territory and inspect connections on private property in another district, according to Goleta’s correspondence with Montecito.

“GWD respects MWD’s concerns — but we cannot assume all liability and costs related to GWD making recycled water available for MWD to serve its customers at the cost of GWD ratepayers,” Drake wrote in a letter.

Residents in and around Hope Ranch, part of the La Cumbre Mutual Water Co., also are interested in the trucking program since the area has no recycled water and has high-value landscapes, Drake said.

The Goleta Water District sells about 1,000 acre-feet of recycled water each year but can produce three times that much, which is why it’s pursuing the truck delivery and a potable reuse pilot program.

Potable reuse takes recycled water to the next step by turning wastewater into a resource for potable uses — such as recharging groundwater basins or supplying homes — and not just landscaping.

The district is waiting to hear back on a state grant for a feasibility study and wants to launch a pilot program as soon as possible, Drake said.

“We’re serious about it, and we don’t want to just sit around and say we have a study,” he said. “Everybody across the state is realizing it’s a potential new supply source.”

The pilot program is a strategy to test public perception and the community’s comfort level with the concept, Drake said, adding that marketing will be a key part of the effort.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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