City approves $1 million for water reuse project

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis City Commission wasted little time Thursday injecting capital into its effluent water reuse project.

In its only discussed action item on the agenda for the first meeting of 2010, commissioners approved use of $1.088 million to move to 100 percent design of the project.

The project would take water from the wastewater treatment plant and distribute it for industrial uses, including watering grass in city parks.

Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder said the city produces about 3 million gallons of effluent water per day. Through storage, and the reduction in city water usage during winter months, peak days could see the city use 5 million gallons of effluent water.

“We’re using drinking water to dust down the landfill,” Crowder said. “We’re using drinking water to build roads. We can do better.”

Crowder cited the November closing the Curry County Underground Water Basin to the depletion of the High Plains Aquifer as need to make the project happen.

The city set aside $1 million in 2007 for the project, which is currently at the 25 percent design phase.

But to qualify for federal stimulus funding, Crowder said, projects have to be shovel-ready and at 100 percent design level.

A $920,000 grant was awarded the city by the state. That money is now frozen as the state works through budget deficits.

The effluent water distribution system would be built in two phases. The first phase would move water from the city’s wastewater plant to a high-rise near Bob Spencer Field. The second phase would take the water to northern and eastern areas of the city.

Crowder said getting the project up to 100 percent design would take about eight to 10 months. From groundbreaking to completion, Crowder said, is an unknown because he’s never dealt with a similar project.

The project was estimated at $16 million when first created, with the expectation it would start in an industrial park area with a new ethanol plant, Crowder said. But that plant never came, and he credited City Engineer Justin Howalt with helping reduce the project cost to approximately $12 million.