Sonoma County, Calif. officials are considering a plan that would use treated wastewater as an alternative energy source, according to a report by the San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfgate.com). The report says a pilot program currently under development at the Charles M. Schulz Airport near Santa Rosa would use highly treated water pumped from a nearby plant to heat and cool buildings, with the additional promise of using the piped water to irrigate landscaping and vineyards.

The program, devised in part by scientists Los Alamos National Laboratory (www.lanl.gov), is being touted as a way to cut power bills and make better use of water resources. Supporters of the pilot program include Pacific Gas and Electric (www.pge.com) and some of the biggest names in the Calif. wine business.

If installed as conceived, the system would cost $50 million to $70 million and would require sinking new pipes to distribute the water through the 450-acre Airport Business Center by 2010. This is the first of three projects; the combined cost is closer to $200 million. Though it would be a stand-alone project for now, the program is part of Sonoma County”s broader goal of achieving “carbon-free” water by 2015.

For the full report on this story by the San Francisco Chronicle, click here.