By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Healdsburg is getting $6 million in grants and loans to help build a pipeline distribution system for a recycled water irrigation project.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, announced Thursday that the city was awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture toward construction of the pipeline, along with another $5 million low-interest loan from the agency to help complete the project.
The pipeline will enable the city to begin the first phase of a stalled $14.5 million wastewater irrigation system Healdsburg has been planning for use in vineyards, parks and open space.
“Healdsburg is laying important groundwork for a sustainable and progressive water system that will benefit generations to come,” Thompson said in a statement.
“That is excellent news. We’ve been waiting for some time for that,” Mayor Tom Chambers said of the funding. “It’s certainly a project that’s been on our to-do list for some time.”
The funding will allow construction of the main distribution backbone infrastructure to supply and deliver recycled water from the city’s state-of-the-art sewer plant, Public Works Director Mike Kirn said.
It will water “turf areas within the city, irrigation of select agricultural areas south and west of Healdsburg, and a future connection to Santa Rosa’s Geysers pipeline for generation of geothermal electricity using recycled water,” he said.
The pipeline will enable the city to dispose of the recycled water for irrigation during the dry months of May through September.
The city currently discharges its highly treated reclaimed water into the Russian River, but is under a deadline to end the practice by October 2014.