The north end of the Gulf Stream Golf Club is bounded by State Road A1A and Golfview Drive. The planned new reverse-osmosis water plant and water storage tank (highlighted in yellow) would join two existing maintenance buildings. Google Maps photo
By Steve Plunkett
Will it be noisy? Will it smell?
Those are the two questions that Town Manager Greg Dunham hopes to head off as the Gulf Stream Golf Club seeks permission to build a reverse-osmosis water plant on site to irrigate its expansive 100 acres of fairways and greens.
The plant and a proposed 600,000-gallon storage tank would go on the club’s maintenance area just south of Golfview Drive near the intersection of Polo Drive.
Ryan Swilley, the golf course’s superintendent, told town commissioners April 9 that the site is 285 feet from the nearest home and is obscured by existing buildings and dense vegetation.
The golf club is permitted to use 150 million gallons of water per year but averages only half that from its private well just north of Place au Soleil, Swilley said. That water, drawn from the surficial aquifer 300 feet below, does not require treatment to be used for irrigation. The reverse-osmosis plant would tap the brackish water of the Floridan Aquifer 1,200 feet underground, and in doing so would save potable resources, he said.
Dunham said he and Assistant Town Attorney Trey Nazzaro toured Manalapan’s water plant only to “randomly smell” a sulfur odor. Private golf courses that employ reverse-osmosis technology include the Everglades Club in Palm Beach and Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach.
Resident Cuppy Kraft asked commissioners how Gulf Stream would determine whether noise or smells were unacceptable.
“I live right next to the Little Club’s kitchen and the odors are awful,” she said.
Nazzaro said whenever the town receives three complaints from three separate households within 30 days over noise or odors, it hires a specialist to investigate.
The golf club operator will return to the Town Commission in May in an attempt to get a “special use exception” to let it build the plant.
Commissioner Paul Lyons, who lives on Polo Drive three lots north of the proposed site, might be expected to take a keen interest in the plan. But he recused himself from a vote in March involving the Gulf Stream Golf Club, noting that he also sits on its board of directors.
In other business, commissioners:
• Were told another vehicle, unlocked and with the key inside, had been stolen. Police Chief Edward Allen said the theft appeared “targeted,” with the perpetrator walking straight to the Cadillac Escalade parked at the Gulf Stream Golf Club, hopping inside and driving off. Stolen vehicles are a recurring crime in the town.
• Approved spending $49,613 for a modern sound system for the commission chambers.
“Especially during COVID, we found out how much we needed to upgrade our audio/video when we tried to go virtual with our meetings,” Dunham said.