The Waste Water Treatment Plant at Riverfront Park has reached another setback. The excess waste water that is produced by the plant has no place to go.
Some will be used to irrigate the fields at Riverfront Park, but during the monsoon and winter rains irrigation is not necessary and other uses of the excess waste water needs to be determined.
An initial option proposed by Coe and Van Loo Consulting in 2009 suggested that a storage cistern be built underground adjacent to the WWF. No mention in the report was given as to how this retained water would be utilized.
The City Council back in the early planning stages of the Waste Water Facility (WWF) desired the excess waste water to be directly pumped into the Verde River. However, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said the waste water produced by the plant would adversely change the quality of the water in the Verde River.
The next plan was to inject the water into the aquifer in Riverfront Park. Test wells indicated that the aquifer was too close to the surface to allow the discharge of the excess water.
So now, the City Council has directed the staff to look at other options to get rid of the excess water including pumping the water to the Kids Park on 12th street where there is an injection well.
The present pump at Riverfront Park (pump #3) pumps sewage to pump #4 at Garrison Park and then up to the Mingus Sewer Plant. In the Coe and Van Loo report in 2009 an alternative to the WWF was to build a new line from pump #3 to pump #4. The anticipated cost in 2009 was approximately $3,000,000.
Mr. Bartosh in a letter to the Verde Independent on June 1, 2011, stated that the “proposed reclamation plant is not about adding capacity; it is about finding a productive alternative to continuing to pump raw wasterwater several miles uphill to the existing plant and adding another sewer line between Riverfront Park and Garrison Park at a cost of around $3 million.” I concluded from Mr. Bartosh’s letter that rather than spend $3 million to replace an old line and possibly a pump the city decided $8.5 million was a worthwhile investment to water Riverfront Park ball fields, the dog park, community garden and cottonwood trees. The City is expected to spend over $12.7 million to complete the plant to accomplish the goals of the city manager as stated above.
The expensive Riverfront WasteWater Treatment Plant is almost complete and still no solution exists as what to do with the excess A+ waste water. I presume that no activity will occur at the WWF until a solution is found for the excess waste water.
I propose several ideas be investigated. 1. Build that $3 million waste water line to pump#4 at Garrison Park and shut down the Riverfront WWF when seasonal watering Riverfront Park is no longer necessary. Thereby, continuing to pump untreated sewage to the Mingus plant as has been done since the Mingus plant was built.
Reconsider a large cistern at Riverfront Park to store excess water. However, how would the stored water be utilized?
Build a line and pump the excess waste water to be expelled into Railroad Wash near Mingus and 10th Street. The amount pumped into the wash might percolate into the aquifer.
As Mr. Knickerbocker of Coe and Van Loo stated in the 2009 report, the wastewater being produced is A+ and he would be happy to drink it and in his opinion the quality of the water would be equal or better than bottled water. So, logically just add the treated waste water to the water lines of Cottonwood.
Lastly, send the treated waste water to the Kids Park to the injection well. Would a new line need to be built? Would a new line cost more than building a new line from Pump #3 to Pump #4($3,000,000). Would increasing the pumping into the ground near the Kids Park have a detrimental effect on the geology underlying the area?
So many questions to be asked about how to use an excess of A+ waste water. Maybe the simplest solution on what to do with the excess produced is to have us start drinking it.