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Dublin San Ramon Services District to close recycled water fill station

Pleasanton station on Johnson Drive will stay open as only free fill station

Dublin San Ramon Services District will permanently close its residential recycled water fill station in Dublin at the end of the month amid uncertainty over the program's future.

The agency announced last week that it would close the smaller facility, located at Dublin's Public Safety complex on Clark Avenue, after Sept. 30 while the larger Pleasanton fill station would remain open with expanded hours.

"As fall temperatures cool, it makes sense to reduce our costs and operate only one fill station," DSRSD General Manager Dan McIntyre said.

"We thank the city of Dublin's staff for hosting our fill station at their public safety complex over the last two summers," McIntyre said. "It allowed Dublin and San Ramon residents to pick up recycled water a little closer to home, and it helped us alleviate the traffic at the Pleasanton fill station."

DSRSD initiated the residential recycled water fill station program with the opening of the Pleasanton facility in June 2014. The Dublin one opened in June 2015 as another free-of-charge source for landscaping water for Tri-Valley residents.

The Dublin facility has operated during the summertime only, while the Pleasanton station has stayed open year-round with reduced operating hours in the winter. To date, the program has garnered about 3,900 registered users and given away 42 million gallons of free recycled water according to DSRSD.

There are multiple reasons that factored into the decision to close the Dublin fill station according to Sue Stephenson, a spokeswoman for DSRSD. Besides the change in seasons that is expected to decrease demand, the water supplies has improved and restrictions on outdoor watering have ended.

"We were the yellow canary in the mine we experienced the drought early on and very hard," Stephenson said. "We had to go to our customers and say, 'OK, this is serious, you have to cut back.'"

And they did, as DSRSD saw a one-third decrease in water use last year according to Stephenson. With conservation efforts continuing voluntarily, the agency is in a better place water-wise than when the fill station program began.

"With the weather cooling off, people can turn on their irrigation systems at home," Stephenson said. "Now that they've experienced how wonderful recycled water is they may hate to do that, but we're not in the dire straits we were in the last couple years."

She added that the City of Dublin's renovation work on its Public Safety Complex also factored into the decision.

So did the program's cost. While Stephenson could not provide that figure, she said expenses have included facility maintenance and upkeep, staffing time and permitting costs.

Finances will factor into the program's future, as well. Stephenson said DSRSD could start charging residents for the service or get rid of it altogether. She added that the agency would have to get new operating permits from the state once the drought emergency is declared over because it sanctioned the fill stations on an emergency basis.

"We're going to have to figure out how it will pay for itself," Stephenson said.

The Dublin fill station will remain open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through the end of September.

During the month of October the Pleasanton station, located at 7399 Johnson Drive, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Reduced hours are expected once Daylight Savings Time ends.

For more information, visit DSRSD online.

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