The town is working on plans to build a water treatment facility so residents don’t have to rely on drinking water for irrigation.
Oakland residents wanting to water their lawns and gardens always have had to use their drinking water because the town does not have a water treatment facility solely for irrigation purposes.
Town officials are moving forward with a plan to build one that will be used by residents in the five neighborhoods constructed since 2012, as well as all new development. To plan for future water needs, homes in these newer communities were outfitted with dual water lines, said Oakland Public Works Director Mike Parker. These neighborhoods lie in close proximity to the proposed treatment facility on Hull Island Drive.
Parker made a presentation to the Town Commission at its Sept. 24 meeting and explained the need for the facility and the need to reduce dependency on using drinking water for irrigation purposes. Irrigation demand was identified as a major concern in the 2008 Water Supply Master Plan, he said. The town’s Comprehensive Plan reflects the use of alternative water, as well.
Oakland owns one of two pieces of land that would house the facility. The town land would be the site of the treatment plant and storage tank. The adjacent property the town is looking to purchase would be used for the pump station.
Parker said because of the time involved in land acquisition and permitting, this will be a three- to five-year project.
The initial cost is estimated to be about $2.5 million, Parker said. The town will be looking at grant opportunities, state loans, impact fees and utility reserves to help fund the project.
“While this may seem daunting, it pales in comparison to the costs involved in getting our water supply network upgrades to handle the anticipated greater flows,” Parker said in his presentation.
Homeowners will not have to do anything and won’t pay any additional costs. Their water bills likely will look similar to what they pay today, he said.
Oakland never has had reclaimed water. Per an interlocal agreement, the city of Clermont treats Oakland’s water but doesn’t return it for irrigation.
“In order to get the irrigation demand off our drinking water, we have to look for alternatives, and that’s why we’ve chosen this one,” Parker said. “With the growth that’s projected, we’re going to need it. … The cost of building the alternative water system is less than the cost of the drinking water system if we up upgrade the (current) system.”
The commission voted unanimously to authorize the expenditure of $70,000 in water impact fee credits to M/I Homes, which currently is building Hull Island at Oakland.
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
• Pam Dwyer, principal of Oakland Avenue Charter School, introduced this year’s new teachers: Carole Kelly, Cheryl Scheirer, Nicole Duffin, Leslie McMillan, Amanda Faraj, Carmen Sedovac and Tara Agnesini.
• Under the consent agenda, the Town Commission approved a Community Development Block Grant agreement between the town and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The town is receiving $600,000 in grant funds earmarked for neighborhood revitalization.