The ROMP consists of four major projects. As of August 1, 2013, two of these projects are nearing completion. The other two projects have been completed and are in operation.
Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility
The Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) will replace the existing Roger Road Water Reclamation Facility. The Roger Road facility which began operating in the early 1950s has a capacity of 41 million gallons a day (MGD). The old technology used to process wastewater flows at this facility cannot meet modern-day environmental standards. The Agua Nueva WRF will meet standards required for effluent discharges into the Santa Cruz River. In Pima County’s agreement with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the Agua Nueva facility was scheduled to be fully operational in January 2015. However, this facility is ahead of schedule, and will likely begin treating wastewater in February 2014. The price tag for the Agua Nueva WRF originally was budgeted at $275 million. However, it appears that this project will be completed for less than $180 million.
With the opening of this facility and the decommissioning of the decades-old Roger Road WRF, treatment plant odors which have plagued the Westside of Tucson for many years will no longer be a problem. The Agua Nueva WRF will have state of the art odor control technology in strategic locations throughout the facility.
The capacity of the new facility is 32 MGD. Solids will not be treated at the Agua Nueva WRF; instead, solids will be conveyed to and treated at the upgraded and expanded Ina Road WRF.
Tres Rios Water Reclamation Facility
Under the ROMP, the Tres Rios (formerly Ina Road) WRF will be upgraded and expanded from 37.5 MGD to 50 MGD. The facility will meet today’s strict environmental standards for effluent discharges. As of August 1, 2013, 25 MGD are being treated to the new standards. The continued upgrade of the old technology should be operational by October 2013. To date construction of the upgrade and expansion of the Tres Rios WRF has met timeline requirements and has not exceeded the original budget.
The Tres Rios WRF will treat all solids generated at both the Agua Nueva and Tres Rios facilities. This facility will also be equipped with state-of-the-art odor control technology.
Water and Energy Sustainability Center
The Water and Energy Sustainability Center (WESC) is the facility that houses the department’s new state of the art laboratory and training center. This ROMP project was completed in November of 2011, with doors opening on December 5, 2011. The WESC houses the centralized lab which has four sections: organic, inorganic, microbiology and quality assurance. Nearly 50,000 individual analyses are performed each year in the new state-of-the art laboratory. Discussions with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have resulted in the lab becoming part of a national network of laboratories that can provide emergency lab analyses in the event of a local, regional or national disaster.
In addition to the laboratory, the WESC also houses the department’s training center which includes both instructor-led and self-paced computer training in a variety of disciplines. To this end, the new facility has both classrooms and computer laboratories. The center is essential to the facilitation of a combination of classroom training and field training, allowing staff to attain state certifications for both conveyance system and treatment facility positions.
The December 2011 WESC opening met schedule and budget projections.
On March 3, 2011, RWRD received approval from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to operate the plant interconnect. The plant Interconnect is a five-mile long gravity sanitary sewer that will divert flows from the existing Roger Road WRF service area to the Tres Rios WRF. With the expansion of the Tres Rios WRF and the construction of a facility with less capacity replacing the Roger Road WRF, the interconnect is a vital piece of the ROMP project. Initial cost projections for the construction of the plant interconnect were estimated at $41.1 million. However, the project came in $7 million under budget at $34.1 million. The plant interconnect project was partially funded by the American Recovery and reinvestment Act which provided $2 million that do not have to be repaid. In addition, $8 million in low interest loans were provided by the State of Arizona Water Infrastructure Finance Authority.