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Stink Raised Over Calaveras County’s Free Water

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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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