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Golf Courses, Parks Use Purple Pipe Water


Groundwater levels in the Mesilla Valley have been recently dropping, but a water reclamation plant is making sure there’s plenty to go around – especially for water-hungry places like golf courses.

Some of that water goes to the Sonoma Ranch golf course. It’s pumped into the lake and then goes out into the rest of the course through pipes painted purple.

Raymond Parson is at the East Mesa reclamation complex making sure everything flows smoothly.

Today the air levels are a little off. “Let me go check on this air situation here.”

Turns out air is pumping too fast into the water so Raymond makes an adjustment. “The air can be going back up there now.”

Then, the levels go back to normal. “I just got everything reset on the computer. Everything looks good.”

He uses most of his senses to keep track. “… your smelling, hearing, just not tasting – you don’t wanna taste it.”

So air has to be pumped into the water at just the right time and amount. The water coming in is raw sewage.

Microorganisms added to it do most of the work of cleaning it, but not without some help. “…they go into the second cell and they get less air, less turbulence and they start trying to break down all the food and they’re trying to relax, they’re trying to settle. That’s what you want, you want them to settle to the bottom and get the clear water to the top.

Raymond says reusing reclaimed water makes sense – dollars and cents. “It’s good for our environment, it’s a good thing for our groundwater. It’s a good thing for customers because it’s cheaper water.”

Cheaper water than drinking water, but it still goes through an ultraviolet light treatment and is certified by the EPA for the Sonoma Ranch golf course.

“This is a small footprint. These plants have a real small footprint and they do a good job of cleaning the water.”

Even with its small footprint, the East Mesa plant is only using half its capacity right now. Plans are to start using the second half by next year which could mean by this time next year, you just might start seeing more purple.