Stink Raised Over Calaveras County’s Free Water

CALAVERAS COUNTY (CBS13) — Calaveras County is having trouble giving away free water and it’s costing them nearly $200,000 dollars a year.

Some say the sewage water stinks, but it looks like the battle goes far beyond what’s lurking on the surface.

The pristine La Contenta Golf Course provides a serene setting in the canyons of Calaveras County, but some say at times, it stinks.

“When it gets hot it does smell, and it’s hot all summer here,” said a frequent golfer.

Some believe the stink stems from the sewage, that becomes treated wastewater used for irrigating the green.

But the Calaveras County Water District, the people who treat the sewage of about 10,000 customers, say the water is perfectly clean and odor-free.

“There are microorganisms eating the waste right now,” said Bill Perley, Director of Utility Services at Calaveras County Water District, he went on to explain “we don’t use chlorine anymore, we use Ultra Violet light.”

And the CCWD’s General Manager Joone Lopez says they need the La Contenta Golf Course to use more of their water.

“Typically this time of year the pond should be empty,” said Lopez.

As it stays full, they fear a spill of treated sewage so they spray it into the sky so it evaporates. They spent nearly $1 million over five years to run the turbomisters.

We just need them to have their sprinklers on longer than they have,” said Lopez.

The CCWD says if the golf course used its free water for up to 9 hours, their water would not be wasted. But the golf course general manager says the CCWD’s water pipe is too small to irrigate his land the amount they’ve requested. It’s an argument he’s lost in court, so he may be forced to keep the irrigation on longer.

The CCWD says the state requires all golf courses to use treated wastewater and places like Pebble Beach Golf Course have been doing it for years.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS Sacramento. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Carolyn

    If I had land here, I would be growing alfalfa… with this water.. in a heart beat!!

  • joerancher

    Sounds like the course needs a new attorney.
    CCWD does not know what they are doing. All courses are required to use reclaimed water? That is not even remotely accurate.
    The reason the ponds are full is that it rained through June and therefore rainwater took place of irrigation. Basic stuff. Go check out all the local reservoirs – they are at highest levels ever. It is illegal to irrigate during rainfall.
    Why doesn’t the CCWD get a NPDES permit or enlarge the pipeline?
    The course only needs to water as needed. Overwatering/Runoff is illegal.
    Courses can only water at night due to wind and contact regulations.
    Right now that is nine hours what’s the problem?

  • mike

    golf is a luxury idiots…

  • KimchiAustin

    It’s sad to see any water wasted, especially since we are in a drought here in Texas. To think that all that water goes to a golf course (and they don’t even want it), kinda upsets me. We would take any water here in Texas!

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