Sanitary District purchases treatment facility property

VVN/Steve Ayers

Affectionately known as the "Red Roof Inn" by sanitary district employees, the Main Street Lift Station located at Arizona 260 and Salt Mine Road, lifts and pumps effluent across the Verde River. The lift station will be the only pump in an otherwise all gravity fed system once the new collection system is in place. It is hoped that construction of the sanitary district's improvements can begin by this fall and be completed in 18 months.

According to the district’s chairperson, Suzie Burnside, the deal should close escrow by March 31.

The sanitary district will purchase the 57 acres on which its existing wastewater facility is located. That property is currently on 20-year lease from the Forest Service that expired over two years ago.

They will also be purchasing an additional 105 acres on which they plan to expand the operation.

The district will pay $1.1 million for the property. Approximately $600,000 of the money will come from a loan issued to the district by the Water Infrastructure Financing Authority. The remaining $500,000 will come from a commercial lender.

"If it weren’t for an oversight on a survey requirement we would have it done now," Burnside said. "Nevertheless we all expect to close escrow on or before the end of March."

Part of the money from the purchase will be kept for use in the Coconino and Prescott National Forests and part will go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for projects elsewhere.

Once the district completes the purchase of the property it can move forward with its expansion project—something that will be of great joy to all concerned.

The district has been trying to facilitate the purchase for some time. At one point late last year the Town of Camp Verde attempted to partner with the district and lend it $500,000. Those negotiations eventually fell through.

The next step in the process will be a bond election on May 17 in which Camp Verde voters will be asked to approve the bonding of the district for $4.5 million.

With approval of the bond issue, the district would be able to go to bid on the expanded facility and upgrades to the old facility by July 1. The bids would be opened and a contractor selected approximately 30 days later, followed by a 30-day waiting period.

With the bids, the bonds and their existing loans, the district would begin simultaneous construction of the facility and the collection system, long anticipated by the community.

"The whole project is slated to be completed in 18 months following the waiting period," Burnside said.

The new collection system will be entirely gravity-driven with the only lift station situated at Arizona 260 and Salt Mine Road. That pump station would move wastewater across the Verde River to the treatment facility on the other side.

By expanding the treatment facility, and upgrading the old facility to bring it into compliance with federal aquifer protection standards, the sanitary district is expected to be able to handle growth within Camp Verde for the next 30 years.

The completion of the wastewater collection system and the expanded and upgraded facility is a necessary infrastructure component for future growth outlined in the new general plan.

Camp Verde voters approved the new general plan with the acceptance of Proposition 400 in Tuesday’s election.

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