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Schools consider waste water for sports fields

Nye County School District officials are considering a proposal to use recycled water for irrigating athletic fields at Pahrump Valley High.

The offer was made by Utilities Inc.of Central Nevada President Wendy Barnett during last week’s board of trustees meeting.

The project involves using the water from the utility’s water treatment plant located across the street from the school.

“We have a proposal that solves the immediate problem of field condition, does not further deplete the already threatened Basin 162,” Barnett said.

District officials considered drilling a well to irrigate the school’s baseball and softball fields, but Barnett said that could possibly result in legal action.

“We have been made aware of your consideration of a plan to drill a well to provide irrigation water to the ball fields at the high school directly across from our waste water treatment facility,” Barnett said. “Quite honestly, this precludes the necessity for any legal action that might arise as a result of encroachment on UICN’s service territory,” Barnett said.

As an alternative, the Utilities Inc., proposal would provide recycled water at no charge to the school district.

Utilities Inc. provides recycled water to Pahrump’s Lake View Golf Course.

Nye County School District Superintendent Dale Norton said the district is now considering whether the proposal would benefit the school, while noting concerns about safety.

“We of course have to do some more research on this with Utilities Inc.,” he said. “There are two concerns that I have and the first is the effluent water for public use. The second concern is whether there will be a sufficient amount of water available to the district to water those fields.”

Barnett told the board that it’s common practice in many locations around the county where recycled water is used for irrigation purposes, without any safety issues, as the water is tested on a regular basis.

Pahrump Valley High’s golf team uses the Lake View course to practice on.

“The recycled water from our facility is tested daily to ensure compliance with all EPA and NDEP regulations concerning re-use,” she said. “Substantial research has shown no ill effects from such re-use and we would be happy to share that data from around the country with you.”

Barnett also noted the district would save money if the proposal were to move forward.

“We believe your cost will be substantially less than the cost of drilling and maintaining a lined well and pump system,” she said. “Obviously UICN is regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and the plan has already been broached with the commission without resistance.”

Norton, meanwhile, said the district will work with Barnett on the proposal, granted it fits the district’s needs and there are no legal ramifications.

“Hopefully we can come up with a solution for that at a cost savings to the district and if it is good for both of us it should work out great,” he said. “There would be some engineering costs of putting in the pump and getting the water pumped over into our irrigation system. Ms. Barnett offered pro-bono on some of that engineering.”

Norton also noted the costs associated with the drilling of a well for irrigation.

The cost is of course a cost that we would have to absorb,” he said. “The one thing that I was unaware of was the agricultural water that they have and I need to explore that a little more. I don’t know whether it will be during the next meeting that the board will decide on this but it will be an upcoming meeting.”

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