Will Sac Sewer's Harvest Water Project limit Elk Grove's southward expansion desires?

Sacramento County District 5 Supervisor Pat Hume presiding over the Wednesday, June 12, Sacramento  Area Sewer District. | 

One of the Sacramento region's largest yet not widely known infrastructure projects is the Sacramento Area Sewer District's Harvest Water Project. The project was the focus of the district's June 12 meeting in Sacramento. 

In its simplest form, the Harvest Water project will treat wastewater collected at the Franklin Road sewage treatment plant where it will be processed for other uses. The treated harvest water will then be sent to southern Sacramento County.

Information on the sewer district's website notes it will provide "a safe and reliable supply of up to 50,000 acre-feet per year of tertiary-treated recycled water for agricultural uses, reducing groundwater pumping, supporting habitat restoration efforts, and providing near-term benefits to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta."

The program will be used in the area between Interstate 5 on the west, Highway 99 to the east, and south of Bilby and Kammerer roads in Elk Grove to just south of Twin City Road in Galt. See the map below.

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The project, which has already started construction, received $291.8 million in Proposition 1 funding and $30 million from the Bureau of Reclamation. 

In the near term, the project will affect Elk Grove pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists along Franklin Boulevard. The road will be torn up to install a 66-inch, five-mile conveyance pipeline along Franklin Boulevard and Sims Road south to Bilby Road.

Information presented at yesterday's sewer district meeting noted that the Franklin Road pipeline contract formally called the Elk Grove Transmission Pipeline Segment 2, was awarded earlier this year. Pipeline construction is expected to start by this August.

Other portions of the conveyance system started construction just outside Elk Grove city limits along Ehinger Road and Franklin Boulevard. That 10-mile 66-inch pipeline will be what Segment 2 connects with just outside city limits.   

The project intends to supply agriculture with a reliable water source and provide numerous environmental benefits. One puzzling question is how this will affect Elk Grove's oft-stated intent to expand southward.

Harvest Water project maps and plans show the service area outside Elk Grove's current city limits. Elk Grove elected officials and developers have sought to expand to this area for decades.

Does this mean that Harvest Water, or poop water as some people have characterized it, will only be used for environmental and agricultural uses? Thus, Elk Grove elected officials and their developer and trade union benefactors will now be unable to expand south. 

Or could it mean that when the stigma of drinking, swimming, or bathing in recycled water has evaporated, this will be a solution to Califonia's age-old water supply challenges and that, yes, new development can happen when you have an identified water source, even if it is recycled wastewater?

That answer is decades away.  

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1 comment

Sid Vicious said...

Is Hume getting ready for a kid's party or just wearing a dunce cap to be ironic!

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