EPCOR Notifies ADEQ That A Discharge Of Untreated Water From The Pecan Water Reclamation Plant May Be Necessary
The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) was notified by EPCOR on February 20, 2019 that an unpermitted discharge of treated effluent may be necessary from the Pecan Water Reclamation Plant into Queen Creek (the wash). Recent cool and wet weather has decreased demand for treated effluent used in irrigation, which has increased water levels in the recharge basins where the effluent is stored. To prevent a potential berm failure and/or overtopping of these basins, EPCOR determined a controlled release into Queen Creek may be required. This potential discharge does not impact Johnson Utilities’ drinking water systems and is not a release of untreated sewage into the environment.
The treated effluent, also known as recycled water, is typically used for non-potable applications, including for irrigation of golf courses and common areas within a community or in ponds at the facility to recharge the aquifer. The use of recycled water in a community is indicated by purple pipes and signage cautioning against contact with standing water and/or to not drink. If you have contact with standing water, wash hands thoroughly. ADEQ confirmed samples taken in January 2019 inside the plant meet water quality standards for A+ effluent.
A previous unpermitted discharge from the facility between January 9 and 17, 2019 totaled 15.36 million gallons. A permitted discharge of this kind would be required to do additional monitoring for surface water quality standards as determined by an Arizona Pollution Discharge Elimination System (AZPDES) permit. During the previous discharge, ADEQ sampled the water and results showed the discharge met applicable surface water quality standards. If another discharge is necessary, ADEQ confirmed that ECPOR will conduct sampling for applicable surface water quality standards.
The Pecan Water Reclamation Plant is located at 38539 N Gantzel Rd in San Tan Valley. To manage future flows, EPCOR continues working to increase recycled water capacity for local irrigation districts and farmers. EPCOR was appointed by the Arizona Corporation Commission as the interim manager for Johnson Utilities in August 2018.