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The recycled-water mobile reuse program is the first of its kind in the county, water officials said. It allows city residents who go through a training session and pay a $75 annual permit fee to pick up 5 to 300 gallons of recycled water per visit.
The roughly 45-minute class and water pickup are at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, 1400 Spinnaker Drive.
’Ventura’s water future is really moving forward,’ said Gina Dorrington, the city’s wastewater utility manager. ’We are really looking at ways to restore this resource.’
As the city’s water supply grows increasingly strained due in large part to the drought — Ventura does not get state water — its long-term goal is to significantly bump its usage of recycled water.
At the site of the treatment plant, it must. In 2011, the city settled with two environmental groups over discharge into an estuary near the mouth of the Santa Clara River. The city agreed to spend up to $55 million for improvements to the plant to reuse at least 50 percent if not all of the treated effluent.
The permit, which took more than two years to secure, allows the city to recycle up to 2 million gallons per day, Dorrington said.
Currently, the city recycles about 4 percent of its overall supply, with the water used on park, golf course and school landscaping and for dust control related to construction.
The new program is mostly restricted to residential uses, although some businesses are allowed on a case-by-case basis, Dorrington said.
Aera Energy, for example, was one of the first to jump on the program. It’s using the water for dust control.
The water is the ’highest-quality recycled water available,’ Lauren Armistead, environmental compliance inspector with the city water department, told six residents who showed up for a training session.
Armistead laid out some of the program’s rules and suggestions: no drinking or using the water in food preparation, do not let the water cross paths with the city’s system, do not store any water (it must be used the same day) and consider the load a vehicle can accept. One gallon of water weighs more than 8 pounds, she said.
Water officials said there wouldn’t be any great money savings for participating in the program, but it would allow a household to be part of a program that’s good for the long-term health of the city’s water supply as well as go back to having a green lawn, should that be their wish.