Pleasanton's recycled water fill station now closed

18-month construction project at sewage treatment plant to prevent public access

Tri-Valley residents who have participated in a program that has given away millions of gallons of recycled water are now out of luck.

The Dublin San Ramon Services District closed its Pleasanton fill station Wednesday because of a an 18-month construction project at its sewage treatment plant near the Stoneridge and Johnson drives intersection.

Extensive concrete work will begin near the treatment plant gate in January, kicking off an $18.2 million expansion project that will enable the plant to produce 70% more recycled water to meet peak summer demand.

DSRSD has indicated that it will limit construction that reduces the plant's production capacity to times when demand for irrigation water is low, and notify large customers of unavoidable interruptions.

But with construction in January occurring in the same area residents use to enter and leave the fill station, the board felt it had to shut down the facility for now.

"We cannot put the public at risk in a hard-hat construction zone or cause a traffic jam on Johnson Drive when roads are closed inside the treatment plant," incoming DSRSD board president Richard Halket said in a statement.

He added that the board agreed to revisit its decision if there is little to no rain over the next two months, increasing the likelihood of irrigation restrictions this summer.

"We haven't had mandatory irrigation restrictions in the Tri-Valley since last June, when our water supply improved and we could move to voluntary conservation measures," Halket said. "If we have to reinstate irrigation restrictions, we will look at options for operating a recycled water fill station for residents."

Otherwise, the board will consider the fill station program's long-term future in spring 2018, when plant construction is currently slated to be winding down, according to DSRSD spokeswoman Renee Olsen.

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

The Dublin facility was open only in the summer, with 2016 being its last as DSRSD permanently closed that fill station at the end of September. DSRSD officials said lessened water restrictions and cooling temperatures factored into that decision, along with cost and loss of its fill station site due to construction.

Olsen said safety was the reason the Pleasanton closure proposal came before the board.

"It was not practical or safe to allow the fill station operation to continue as it has in the past with construction taking place," she said.

Decreasing demand also factored into the board's decision not to operate a residential fill station in 2017.

While the program has 3,900 registered users and has given away 44.7 million gallons of recycled water to date, demand for the service has dropped, according to DSRSD staff. At the height of the drought in 2015, the amount of recycled water consumed in the residential fill station program increased from 2.3 million gallons to 28.2.

But with a nearly average rainy season, DSRSD was able to end mandatory water conservation measures in June. The increased rainfall and lessened restrictions have caused a significant drop in recycled water use at the fill stations, with 2016 volume at 14.2 million gallons to date. The number of active individual users has also declined to 1,800, according to a DSRSD staff report.

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8 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Dec 28, 2016 at 9:02 am

Something smells here. They raised our rates significantly because we were conserving and we're not paying for as much water and now are they considering lowing the rates now that everyone will go back to watering their lawns with fresh water? What about conservation? Is that no longer necessary? Is Livermore closing their facilities also? This seems like a money scam.

4 people like this
Posted by Free recycled water
a resident of California Reflections
on Jan 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm

Does this mean I can't get free recycled water for my yard in the Spring? I spent hundreds of dollars on a carboy to haul water in my truck bed. Please tell me this is not permanent.

With Zone 7 raising rates almost 50%, using recycled water on my yard in 2017 will be CRITICAL to the survival of my plants. I can't afford the new water bills if I use drinking water for my landscape irrigation.

3 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 3, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Sounds pretty permanent

5 people like this
Posted by CC
a resident of West of Foothill
on May 12, 2017 at 4:30 pm

During the drought, many tri-valley residents stepped up conservation. Many of us even invested hundreds/thousands of dollars to purchase recycled water containers and trailers to transport the recycled water.

Apparently DSRWSD, Zone 7, and the Cities of Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore have quietly discontinued the free recycled water pickup for residents. Per their websites “due to treatment plant construction” in Pleasanton; “The Dublin fill station also is permanently closed because the city-owned site is no longer available.” Livermore just ended their residential recycled water program with no explanation.

Could it be that the real reason is the water districts don’t really want customers to conserve and actually want customers to irrigate with the imported water so they can increase their revenue, and profits/bonuses, that substantially declined during the mandatory conservation period? They already stated that the recent water price increases were not enough to cover the shortfall.

The local cities have invested millions in re-piping for public landscaping to enjoy the recycled irrigation water directly. Meanwhile, us taxpaying water consumers and drought conscious citizens are stuck with costly, giant 300 gallon water tanks and associated equipment piled up in our yards that are for the most part unusable. Although, the board said they would consider the fill station program's long-term future in spring 2018, when plant construction is currently slated to be winding down, according to DSRSD spokeswoman Renee Olsen. What’s to consider????? It was good for the environment and the residents. It even reduced the plant’s processing expense…

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