Clarkdale wastewater plant begins start-up

CLARKDALE - During the past week or so, the Town of Clarkdale began start-up operations with its new wastewater treatment plant. The start-up represents a major milestone for the town.

According to a release from Public Works Director Wayne Debrosky, the start-up is the "culmination of decades of planning by the town."

Dedication of the 350,000-gallon-per-day facility is, according to Debrosky, a few months away. The plant replaces the town's former 250,000 gallons per day lagoon treatment system that produced a Class B effluent. The new system will produce Class A+ effluent.

Town Manager Gayle Mabery stated that, "Effluent quality is the most important aspect of this project."

She explained that Class A+ effluent will give the town the opportunity to consider sustainable reuse of its water. She said the most attractive option, and the one the town council favors, is to develop a groundwater recharge project that will allow the town to recycle the effluent and improve water availability in Clarkdale.

"The higher quality of effluent can also be permitted to be discharged into the Verde River tributaries, like Bitter Creek or Deception Wash," Mabery stated.

Clarkdale purchased and refurbished the Desert Oasis Wastewater Treatment Plant after it was decommissioned by the City of Surprise.

"Because it was a used wastewater treatment plant, the cost of the plant itself was minimal and more than 85 percent of Clarkdale's project costs were the result of permitting, engineering, site development and the decommissioning of Clarkdale's existing wastewater treatment plant," Debrosky stated. "When the project is complete, Clarkdale's cost will be in the $14.29 to $15.71 per gallon range, or between $5,000,000 and $5,500,000 in total costs."

Mabery said the new plant will allow the town to realize a long-term goal on the wastewater plant property with the creation of a river access site.

"We don't have a set timeframe on the river access site," Mabery said, "but anticipate that it will be available for public use within about the next six months."

She said the primary use of the site will be a trail system that connects off of the town's existing Benatz Trail.

"We'll likely have a parking area where folks can park and then walk or hike the trail that will take them to the river," Mabery explained. "It won't necessarily be developed as a put-in, take-out site for boaters, but could possibly get some of that use."

Mabery said that being just upstream from the Tuzigoot River Access Point, most boaters will probably use that site for put-in and take-out. She said the new site on the wastewater plant site will likely attract more walkers, hikers, picnickers and bird watchers.

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