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Recycling rain: Woodbury dives into run-off re-use

Twin Cities Pioneer Press logo Twin Cities Pioneer Press 6 days ago Bob Shaw
Woodbury stock © Provided by Twin Cities Pioneer Press Woodbury stock

Woodbury has opened the valve on water-saving efforts — with its first neighborhood-wide recycling system.

The run-off recycling system will be installed by builder D.R. Horton in the 70-acre project Copper Hills, near Dale Road and Radio Drive. The builder will construct 112 single-family homes and 70 units of multi-family housing — all with yards irrigated with water from rain and melted snow.

City Planner Eric Searles said this week that new system could save up to 40 percent of a home’s annual usage — a welcome addition in a city which has recently faced a water-shortage emergency.

He and other officials praised the developer for coming up with the idea. “D.R. Horton has been an excellent partner,” said Searles.

City councilman Steve Morris called the system “fantastic” at a December meeting, and Community Development Director Janelle Schmitz called it “exciting.”

Planner Searles said Woodbury has run-off recycling programs in several places, including Eagle Valley Golf Course. But Copper Hills will be the first in a single-family residential development – which is the most common type of housing in the city.

In Copper Hills, water from precipitation will be collected in ponds. A new system of pipes – separate from those for drinking water, sewage and run-off from streets  – will pump the water to the homes.

There, homeowners will control their own watering of lawns and gardens, as they do now in other locations.

If the run-off ponds run low, said Searles, the city would pump its own water into the system.

The system would save water and save homeowners money on their monthly water bills.

It’s is an important part of Woodbury’s water-conservation measures because irrigation is the biggest use of water, by far. Daily usage in summer months is typically four times higher than in winter, when no one is watering outdoors.

City officials are eager to conserve water, partly because they have shut down city water wells when polluting chemicals were found at unsafe levels. As recently as Wednesday, a well was taken out of service – the city’s eighth well out of 19 to be permanently or temporarily closed.

Construction on the Copper Hills site is expected to begin this spring.

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