Kevin Valine

Modesto, Turlock take another step in wastewater project

Workers pour concrete for a discharge structure at the Delta-Mendota Canal, part of a project in which Modesto and Turlock will send highly treated wastewater to West Side farmers.
Workers pour concrete for a discharge structure at the Delta-Mendota Canal, part of a project in which Modesto and Turlock will send highly treated wastewater to West Side farmers. Carollo Engineers

Modesto and Turlock have taken another step forward in sending highly treated wastewater to Del Puerto Water District farmers.

The cities have approved an agreement that lets Turlock send its wastewater through a Modesto pipeline. Turlock’s City Council approved the agreement in August. Modesto’s council approved it Tuesday.

Modesto started work last week on building the 7-mile pipeline to ship the wastewater from its Jennings Road treatment plant to the Delta-Mendota Canal, where it will flow to Del Puerto farmers, who will use the water to grow almonds, walnuts, peaches, cherries and other crops. Turlock will build a 6-mile pipeline to carry its wastewater to the Jennings plant.

The Del Puerto Water District comprises about 45,000 acres along Interstate 5 from Vernalis to Santa Nella. It has been hit hard by drought and fish protections limiting its water supply. The wastewater from Turlock and Modesto gives the district a reliable water source and about a third of its supply in a normal year. The water is treated to almost drinking-water quality.

Modesto’s project will cost about $50 million and is expected to be completed by December 2017. Modesto is paying for the work with a $35 million, 1 percent-interest state loan and a $15 million state grant. Besides the pipeline, Modesto is building a pump station and other infrastructure.

Turlock expects to award a contract to a civil engineering firm in January to design its pipeline. Construction should start in late summer 2017. The pipeline should be operating in late 2018. Turlock Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke said the project could cost $20 million to $30 million and that he expects the state to approve a low-interest loan for the project in February.

Del Puerto Water District farmers are paying for all of Modesto’s and Turlock’s costs through an agreement between the water district and the two cities. The project also is expected to provide $500,000 a year in revenue to Modesto and about $300,000 a year to Turlock.

Kevin Valine: 209-578-2316

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