City considering wastewater irrigation plan

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

The City Commission is considering a plan that would use wastewater to irrigate parched city parks, golf courses and school grounds.

City Commissioner and Chairman of the Water Policy Advisory Committee Randal Crowder said the effluent, or discharge, from the city wastewater plant could also be used to minimize dust generation at the city landfill and conserve water lagoon levels during winter seasons. Crowder presented commissioners Thursday with a map of a proposed wastewater re-use system.

“The potential here is tremendous,” Crowder said.

The city spends about $250,000 a year to water its properties, Crowder said.

The proposal calls for pipes running along the city’s storm drainage system that would re-use wastewater treatment effluent.

The city currently sells the wastewater for a nominal fee to a nearby farmer, who uses it to irrigate his land.

Commissioners earmarked capital outlay funds for the project during Thursday’s regular meeting. They voted to apply the funds to hire a project engineer, as well as draft a cost-benefits analysis of the project. If viable and approved, Crowder said, the fledgling water initiative would be completed in phases.

The city treats 2.8 million gallons of effluent per day, according to Crowder. Officials anticipate Southwest Cheese will create an additional 1.2 million gallons per day, which means a total of 1.46 billion gallons of water available each year, Crowder said.

Wastewater from the cheese plant is high in salt content and contains traces of nitrate, so it has to be diluted by another water source before applied to lands, according to Crowder.

“Water is critical,” said Sen. Clint Harden, R-Clovis, who posed to city commissioners the possibility of wastewater in other ways.

“If we can recycle and save money and use it as many times as we can, it just makes good sense,” Harden said.

Also at Thursday’s meeting:

• Commissioners designated Seventh Street from Main Street to Moreno Drive “Isidro S. Garcia Highway.” Garcia has served on the commission for five terms, an outstanding length of time, city officials said.

“I am under the impression that people need to receive their flowers now, rather than later,” Commissioner Kevin Duncan said.

• The Clovis Municipal Airport was recently granted an FAA 130 certification, which allows more corporate aircraft to enter the airport, said airport director Stephen Summers. The airport certification manual, as required by FAA Part 139, was approved by commissioners.