Wastewater expansion project on target

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The Town of Marana is in the process of expanding their North Marana Wastewater Facility with two major projects.

The existing facility, which the town took over from the Pima County in 2013, can currently treat up to 500,000 gallons per day. With the recent connecting of the Saguaro Bloom subdivision to the sewer system, it is close to maxing out what the facility in its current configuration can handle.

For North Marana to continue to grow, an expansion had to occur. The expansion to the facility will allow it to treat a total of 1.5 million gallons per day and can handle up to 10,000 new homes or businesses in the area. Marana Utilities Director John Kmiec said the expansion was expected with how fast the area was growing. “In the wastewater world that is a normal planning timeline,” said Kmiec. “The town always knew they were going to have to expand this plant as our planning numbers in the housing and commercial development increased in northern Marana.”

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The facility was already equipped to accommodate future expansion and was one of the reasons the town fought to take over the facility. Although they knew expansion was going to happen sooner rather than later, expanding upon the existing infrastructure was always a preferred option over having to build a new wastewater facility from scratch.

The current treatment lagoon utilizes biolac treatment, which uses bacteria, aeration and other processes to treat wastewater. At the end of the process the town sees treated water that exceeds most standards, but their hope is the new expansion will provide an even cleaner final product, in a more efficient manner.

The expansion will utilize an activated sludge process, which also uses bacteria and biological matter to break down waste and help purify the water. The newer process will utilize two separate aeration basins that can each treat up to 750,000 gallons per day. The design will also allow further expansion, with room for additional aeration basins and clarifiers.

This portion of the project began in March 2017 and is expected to be completed in August 2018. It is currently 35 percent complete. The new expansion will not only be more efficient, but the new system will give them more flexibility in treating water and should give them a better final product.

The water from the new process will be pure enough that they will be able to use it in the recharge basins that will help the town get 100% of the recharge credits from the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

The second and concurrent part of the expansion process is construction of three new recharge basins, as well as pond features and a recreation area. That part of the project is over 55 percent complete.

The entire project is on track and on-schedule.