Purple pipes save station big money

23 Aug 2007 | Pfc. Michael R. Stevens

Phase two of a four-step plan to install irrigation lines running from a water pipeline adjacent to the property, will save the air station more than $170,000 per year on water.

According to the California Water Code, Section 13550-13556, the legislature hereby finds and declares the use of potable-domestic water for non-potable uses, including, but not limited to: cemeteries, golf courses, parks, highway landscaped areas, industrial and irrigation uses, is a waste or an unreasonable use of the water.

“The water pipeline, nicknamed “Purple Pipes”, will run reclaimed water from the city of San Diego to the air station for industrial use, instead of potable water, which is more expensive,” said Randy Monohan, the station energy manager with installation and logistics.

In the 2007 fiscal year, the air station has paid $7.75 per one thousand gallons, or KGal of potable water.

The expected cost for fiscal year 2008 is $8.50 per KGal of potable water.

The reclaimed water rate is $1.20 per KGal, saving the station approximately $7 per thousand gallons.

The new plan came to fruition from Station Order 11300.2a, which developed a comprehensive energy management program to include new-construction renovation, efficient-building operation and maintenance procedures.

“Significant cost avoidance and reduction can be achieved through an effective energy management program,” said Col. Christopher E. O’Conner, the commanding officer of the station, in the order.

The order states this program requires an all-hands effort and an on-going commitment to sound energy-management practices, life-cycle cost-effective energy efficiency projects, and efficient day-to-day operations of base resources and facilities.

Through the course of each phase, the water pressure for the potable water will increase for the station.

“The air station’s current irrigation system lacks adequate pressure to irrigate all of the areas during night hours,” according to Monohan. “Many areas on the station have to water during the day, due to this lack of pressure. This procedure wastes a considerable amount of potable water, because of the evaporation.”

The estimated water savings during the first and second phases is approximately 23,000 KGals.

“Potable drinking and bathing water will still be available on the station, mostly collected from the Colorado River, the biggest source of potable water in the area,” said Monohan. “It’s mandatory that there exists two separate water pipes for potable and reclaimed water.”

The pipes are triple checked to ensure there is no cross-contamination.

“One of the biggest pluses is the money saved by making this switch, can be allocated to other needs on the station,” said Monohan.

The project is expected to be complete by October 2007.

Headquarters Marine Corps