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San Tan Valley's Copper Basin Water Reclamation Facility Faces Delay

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San Tan Valley's highly anticipated Copper Basin Water Reclamation Facility, spearheaded by EPCOR, will experience an eight to ten-month delay in its completion. Initially set to be operational by December 2023, the project will now see a delay due to global supply chain constraints affecting critical electrical equipment.

Historically, the need for Copper Basin was accentuated by the frail condition of the San Tan water and wastewater district's infrastructure. Pumps failed, pipes broke, and sewer overflows were all too common. The inability of the existing infrastructure to reliably support homes and businesses further prompted the need for a new facility, especially given the rapid growth in one of the US's hottest housing and industrial markets.

A significant challenge has been the lagoon-style wastewater treatment facility, Section 11. Known for its odorous issues, being prone to breakage, and filled with sludge, Section 11 was earmarked as a top priority for replacement. This need became the genesis for the Copper Basin Water Reclamation Facility.

With an investment of over $100 million on infrastructure improvements, EPCOR has been dedicated to transforming the San Tan service area, which sprawls across 160 square miles. Following the successful expansion of the Pecan Water Reclamation Facility, Copper Basin emerged as the new beacon of hope for the community. Estimated at $80 million, the facility is set to employ advanced membrane technology to convert wastewater into highly treated water, ensuring its safe return to the natural water cycle. Once fully operational, it promises to treat up to 3 million gallons of water daily.

Although the project has been on an aggressive schedule, the recent announcement at the ACC meeting confirmed that only half of Copper Basin will be operational by March 31, 2024. This will permit flow from two out of the four basins at Section 11 to be diverted to Copper Basin, which should bring some relief to the issues posed by the older facility.

Christina Shane, Engineering Project Manager, expressed her team's commitment to bringing the project to fruition despite the challenges. "It's incredible to think that five months from now we'll be running operational tests to bring it online. We're in the home stretch and are determined to ensure that the facility serves its purpose."

San Tan Valley residents have been eagerly awaiting the Copper Basin facility, and despite the delay, it is hoped that it will mark the beginning of a new chapter in water treatment and reclamation for the community.
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Thursday, 23 May 2024

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