We had two speakers discuss water topics at our March General meeting. City Manager Larry Patterson gave us details about San Mateo’s $1 billion investment in our waste water treatment plant. Our wastewater overflows are problematic, and many drainage pipes need to be fixed. The timeline for this upgrade was going to be 20 – 30 years, but it is less costly if we do it in 10 years. This will require a sewer tax increase of 9% each year to help fund. A Master Plan will soon be on the City’s website.
Our second speaker was certified greywater expert and Bay Maples Wild California Gardens owner, Alan Hackler. He discussed and showed the ease of installing a ‘laundry-to-landscape’ greywater system, which doesn’t require a permit. (Biocompatible detergents should then be used in your washing machine.) However, going further with shower/tub greywater systems require permits and are more expensive and complex. Alan stressed that requiring greywater systems in new development would be a huge benefit, both in reducing the cost and in water-savings. Building on the 9% annual sewer tax increase discussed earlier in the evening, Alan mentioned that perhaps residents who implement a greywater system could seek a reduced tax, or be incentivized with a reduced tax. Regardless of our recent rains, water consumption is still a priority concern, and lawns are huge water-suckers. Reduce your demand, get rid of your lawn, and consider a simple laundry-to-landscape greywater system.
NOTE: Larry Patterson also discussed a number of non-water topics, including plans to hire more traffic police officers, fixing our 17 miles of failed streets, putting together a committee to oversee spending of Measure S funds (contact him at email@example.com if you are interested), and the fact that funding our retirement system is still the City’s greatest challenge.