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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news October 20, 2014

11/18/2013 9:24:00 AM
Prescott Valley recharge facility brings water savings
Prescott Valley’s North Plains Recharge Project map shows basins, pipelines and monitoring wells.
Courtesy Photo/Town of Prescott Valley
Prescott Valley’s North Plains Recharge Project map shows basins, pipelines and monitoring wells.
Courtesy Photo/Town of Prescott Valley
Cattle graze alongside a recharge basin in Prescott Valley.
Courtesy Photo/Town of Prescott Valley
Cattle graze alongside a recharge basin in Prescott Valley.
Courtesy Photo/Town of Prescott Valley
Special to the Tribune

The first part of a three-phase, reclaimed water recharge facility is up and running in the Town of Prescott Valley.

The town has built five settling basins, at a cost of $1.4 million. The basins are located about one mile north of the advanced sewage treatment plant, west of Fain Road and south of Lakeshore Drive on state trust land that the town leases. The basins have a permitted recharge capacity of 2,400 acre-feet of water per year.

John Munderloh, water resources manager for the town, said settling basins let reclaimed water, or effluent, percolate to the groundwater table about 100 feet below. The water is expected to percolate about a half foot per day. Reclaimed water is first polished by a treatment process, then further refined by moving through the 100 feet of fine-grained soils above the groundwater table.

"The new basins are more efficient than the existing in-channel facility located in the bed of the Agua Fria (River)," Munderloh said. "The in-channel facility uses earthen berms to hold back the water until it percolates, but it's prone to washouts."

Construction of recharge projects by local governments is subject to regulation and intense scrutiny by state and federal agencies, Munderloh said.

The town obtained aquifer protection, underground storage facility, pollution discharge elimination systems, water storage and right-of-way permits from various state agencies for building the basins. It also was required to comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineer regulations.

"We completed a complex permitting process that required four years of work," Munderloh added. "These processes are in place to guarantee that the recharged water is treated to established environmental standards."

The Arizona Department of Water Resources administers a permit that requires ongoing monitoring to make sure the project meets state laws. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality ensures that reclaimed water will not harm water quality.

Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog said the new basins will significantly increase the amount of recharge credits that the town can accumulate. Recharge credits are like a bank account for water using the aquifer as a vault.

"Water supplies are extremely important to the town, and by putting water back into the ground we come one step closer to meeting our water management goal of safe yield," he said.

Safe Yield is reached when groundwater withdrawals equal water going back to the aquifer through natural and artificial recharge processes.

Munderloh said using recharge facilities is included in ADWR's fourth water management plan for the Prescott Active Management Area.

The town will build additional basins as needed, he said, anticipating it will build all three phases of the advanced treatment facility in seven to 10 years. Final recharge capacity is estimated at 4,200 acre-feet of water per year.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation's Phoenix Field Office also recently notified the town that it will receive $20,990 in second-year grant money for automating irrigation systems at town parks.

Year-two grant money will pay for installing computerized controls for Granville, Tonto South, Pronghorn, Quailwood, George Anderson and CASA Parks. With the first year grant, the town installed computerized controls at Mountain Valley, Antelope, Tonto North, Sunflower, Viewpoint, Fain and the Community Center Parks.

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