Thu, June 27

Water issues addressed by Cottonwood Council
Drought plan approved

The Cottonwood City Council dealt with a waterlogged agenda Tuesday night, approving four measures related to the municipal water company.

The Drought and Shortage Preparedness Plan was adopted, infrastructure needs were addressed and the Council approved costs related to drawing up a master plan for the wastewater treatment plant.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources requires the drought plan be completed and submitted by Jan. 1, 2008. The plan lays out various water resource status levels and coinciding demand reduction strategies.

For example, when demand exceeds safe production, there will be reduction strategies put in place to force people to better conserve water.

Compliance with the demand reduction strategies is mandatory for all water utility users.

According to the plan, when the city declares Resource Status Level I, utility users will have to reduce water use in a number of ways including watering plants only on specific days and during specific times. Hotels and restaurants will be restricted from giving customers water unless requested and washing customers' linens unless requested.

This will go into effect when demand exceeds safe production for five consecutive days. These measures will also permanently be in place during May through September.

As the water levels increase, stricter conservation requirements will be implemented. A surcharge will be assessed for those who violate the demand reduction strategies. These charges will double for every repeat violation.

The city will monitor supply and demand and will inform the public of specific measure to be taken by issuing press releases, posting on the city's Web site and putting up signage around the city.

Utilities Director Dan Lueder said the plan is not just a list of fines and rules, it is an educational tool to help people understand conservation and how to participate in it.

The plan mirrors Clarkdale's drought plan, which is on the agenda for approval Tuesday.

Consultants Coe and Van Loo have been brought on board by the City of Cottonwood to investigate how best to increase capacity at the city's main lift station sewage pump.

Lueder stated that the "wet well is undersized for the amount of sewage the facility pumpsŠ

"Flows through this lift station have increased more than the original designers anticipated, and while the pumping equipment is still sufficient, wet well capacity is dangerously low."

The city's cost for the consultants is not to exceed $41,165.

According to a letter from Lueder, "The total cost for this project including construction could be as high as $100,000."

This sewage pump station is not the only infrastructure reaching capacity. The city has also hired Coe and Van Loo to draw up a master plan for the wastewater treatment plant.

The master plan will outline procedures for better operation and will serve as a guide for future operations as the plant approaches capacity.

Construction of a new, higher capacity plant is being investigated and expected to be on line in the next five years.

Lueder wrote in a letter to council, "Efficient and economical operation of a wastewater treatment facility is greatly enhanced when staff has a master plan which outlines operational, mechanical and contingency procedures, along with serving as a planning tool for future years."

The cost for the engineering services of Coe and Van Loo is to not exceed $82,115. The Council appropriated $150,000 for fiscal year 2007 for development of a wastewater master plan.

Finally, the Council authorized money to be given to M.E. Simpson Company to locate, document and inspect water valves in the old Verde Santa Fe water distribution system.

As part of the municipal water company acquisition, Cottonwood Water Works, Cordes Lakes, Clemenceau and the Verde Santa Fe water systems were acquired.

A similar water valve location project was conducted on the other three systems over the last year or two. Those projects found approximately 250 unknown, partially closed or defective valves throughout the systems.

Identifying the leaking or defective valves in the Verde Santa Fe system "would make the operation of that distribution system safer, more efficient and economical," Lueder said.

The cost for the project could be up to $23,400.