Douglas Ledbetter, the director of Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemeteries, has a dilemma: acres of grass to keep green and a mandate to cut back on water usage.
On top of that, the Point Loma cemetery honoring our military is not equipped to use recycled water like the newer Miramar National Cemetery is.
In an email to NBC 7 Investigates, Alexandra Bell, communications director at City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s office, said because there is no link between the cemetery and water treatment facilities that provide recycled water, “the two easy ways of getting recycled water there are cost prohibitive.”
See the photo below showing where the recycled pipelines are located in the county.
The Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is in Zapf’s district.
Last week military cemeteries across California discussed how to face Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate to cutback water use by 25 percent.
For Fort Rosecrans, the restrictions come at a time when the national cemetery is installing a new variety of grass that requires more water. Ledbetter told NBC 7 Investigates he had not had a chance to pursue any possible alternatives to water Rosecrans' grass. For now freshwater will still be used to keep the grounds green.
California has the largest concentration of military cemeteries in the United States.
Below is more of Bell’s response.
“So I talked to our water department about the possibility of switching Ft Rosecrans to recycled water. According to the maps (here) we only have purple pipe in the northern and southern parts of the city. It doesn’t look like we have any in the area between the 52 freeway and the 54 freeway. This is because our two Level 3 reclamation plants that feed into the purple pipe are in North City and South Bay.
I asked if it would be possible to use the water from the Point Loma Treatment plant, since it’s so close to the cemetery. Unfortunately the plant is a Level 1 treatment, and the water wouldn’t be clean enough to use on purple pipe. Staff has estimated it will cost $2 billion to upgrade the plant to a Level 2 (which is what will happen if we don’t get the federal waiver we apply for regularly), and they haven’t even looked at calculating the costs of getting it to a Level 3.
So for now, the two easy ways of getting recycled water there are cost prohibitive. We’ll keep looking into the possibility of more creative options and if something seems like it could be possible, I’ll let you know.”