New Tucson Water Treatment Facility Completed

Tucson Water’s Advanced Oxidation Process Water Treatment Facility has recently been inaugurated. Construction began in July 2012 and was completed on schedule and within budget.

Tucson Water’s Advanced Oxidation Process Water Treatment Facility has recently been inaugurated. Construction began in July 2012 and was completed on schedule and within budget.

Located west of Interstate 19 near Irvington Road, the new plant will operate in conjunction with the adjacent Tucson Airport Remediation Project facility to produce up to a daily total of 8 million gallons of purified water.  The new 4,500-square-foot treatment facility is equipped with state-of-the-art gear, designed to remove 1,4-dioxane and other contaminants from water.

From the 1940s, industrial activity at the aircraft manufacturing facilities in the Tucson International Airport area contaminated the surrounding groundwater supplies with solvents for over 30 years. These chemicals contained a stabilizing compound called 1,4-dioxane, an ether with damaging effect to the central nervous system and several organs,  irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract.

AOP technology combines UV light with hydrogen peroxide to remove 1,4-dioxane from the underground plume at the TARP wellfield, in order to reach a degree of purity advised by the Environmental Protection Agency. Although EPA does not currently regulate 1,4-dioxane, two years ago the agency issued a drinking water health advisory for 1,4-dioxane of 0.35 parts per billion. Tucson Water performs thousands of tests each year on water samples and reports the results to customers, elected officials, and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.

Tucson Water Director Alan Forrest hosted the dedication ceremony held on Jan. 15. He pointed out that the water produced from the TARP and AOP treatment facilities meets all federal drinking water standards and is safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing. “Tucson Water’s commitment to ensuring that customers have enough safe, high-quality water today and in the future is a strategic approach that we fully support,” said Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who was also present at the inaugural. “This new AOP Water Treatment Facility is an important investment in our community’s water quality and long-term water reliability,” he added.

Photo credits: City of Tucson