OCEANSIDE — The Civic Center fountain is bubbling with water again after being dry for more than a year due to needed repairs and the state drought alert.
There is currently potable water circulating through the fountain.
The city is exploring initial steps to supply it with recycled water.
If efforts are fruitful it would be the first fountain in North County to use recycled water.
Before recycled water can be turned on, the health department must issue a use permit to the city. This takes a review of operations to ensure community health and safety.
“It consists of plan submittal, plan review, site inspection and permit issuance,” Cari Dale, city water utilities director, said.
In preparation for recycled water conversion a hired consultant conducted two site walks of the fountain area in August to examine fencing, spray nozzles and adjacent planters. The walks familiarized the consultant with the project site, in order for him to guide the city through the permit process.
Oceanside is now in the process of preparing plans for the first permitting review.
An additional task the city faces is piping recycled water it produces to the fountain.
Oceanside is working with Fallbrook Public Utilities District to modify the outfall agreement they share, and quitclaim pipeline that can be used to deliver recycled water to Oceanside’s downtown.
If recycled water is used, safeguards will be taken to ensure people don’t come in direct contact with the water. Decorative fencing, which was put up to guard the empty fountain, will remain in place. Fountain nozzles will be changed to make sure there is no misting.
Oceanside considered filling the fountain with recycled water last year, prior to fountain tiles, electrical and plaster work being completed.
Due to the level II drought alert at the time, the only allowable way for the fountain to be filled was with recycled water.
A decision was made after work was completed in April 2015, to wait for drought conditions to improve before refilling the fountain. A bright blue fence was installed around the empty fountain, which still stands.
There is no estimated date to secure a recycle water use permit, nor a known timeline to acquire and convert the needed pipeline.
City staff will look into project costs, and then make a recommendation to City Council.
Deputy Mayor Chuck Lowery and Councilman Jerry Kern weighed in on the use of recycled water in the fountain.
Kern said he is glad to have the fountain up and running.
“It’s part of the design (of the Civic Center), it looks great,” Kern said.
Kern said while using recycled water would set a good example, he does not agree with keeping the blue fence up. He said if it takes having potable water in the fountain to remove the fence, he is in favor of continuing potable water use.
“The fence has got to come down,” Kern said. “The prison look is not good for City Hall.”
Lowery said he supports using reclaimed water in the fountain.
“It will take some time and money to get there, but it’s a very worthwhile project,” Lowery said.
Lowery said people love the fountain, and often stand right up against the fence to enjoy the view. He added he is OK with the fence staying in place to keep people from entering the fountain.