What is wastewater?
Commonly known as sewage, wastewater is the water that goes down
the drain from sinks, bathtubs, floor drains, toilets, and
various piping located in homes and businesses throughout the
City of Mesa. Wastewater is used water that includes pollutants
such as human waste, food scraps, oil, soap, and chemicals that
are conveyed via a sewage pipe from homes, commercial buildings,
or industrial facilities. Wastewater travels for miles through
an array of various sized pipes, known as the wastewater or
sewer collection system, located in the ground, typically under
Nature has a process of treating pollutants in the water, but
the amount generated by a city the size of Mesa would overwhelm
the natural treatment process. The wastewater treatment process
is an accelerated form of the natural treatment process that can
clean millions of gallons of water a day. Wastewater treatment
reduces the pollutants in the water, resulting in water that is
reusable and beneficial to the environment.
Where in Mesa is wastewater treated?
The City of Mesa has three wastewater treatment facilities,
known as water reclamation plants. These plants reclaim the
water for reuse on golf courses, crop irrigation, greenbelt
irrigation, and for recharge. By reusing the water, the City of
Mesa conserves on the consumption of fresh water that can be
used in our drinking water system.
Northwest Water Reclamation Plant (NWWRP) is located in the
northwest corner of the City of Mesa. It is a state of the art
reclamation facility, with a treatment capacity of 18-million
gallons per day. This facility has treatment that includes
screening, grinding, sedimentation, organics removal, nutrient
removal, filtration, clarification, and disinfection. The
effluent from the NWWRP is discharged to two recharge sites and
the Salt River, which also recharges the aquifer. In the near
future it will also be used for freeway irrigation and at the
Reef Underground Storage Project for recharge purposes.
The Southeast Water Reclamation Plant (SEWRP) is located north
of Baseline Road and east of Recker, within the Superstition
Springs Golf Course. The SEWRP is also a state-of-the-art
facility that has an 8-million gallon per day treatment
capacity. Treatment includes screening, grinding,
sedimentation, organics removal, nutrient removal, filtration,
clarification, and disinfection. The effluent from this plant
is used for golf course landscape irrigation, pond
replenishment, and agricultural irrigation.
Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant
(GWRP) is located in Gilbert. This facility is on the west side
of Greenfield Road between Germann and Queen Creek Roads. This
facility, originally constructed as a lift station, is currently
being built as a 16 MGD water reclamation plant. When completed
it will treat sewage from southeast Mesa,
the southeast portion of the Town of Gilbert, and all of the
Town of Queen Creek. This treated water will be pumped directly
to Gilbert's recharge facilities and to the Gila River Indian
Community through an intergovernmental agreement for beneficial
reuses on agriculture.
What is recharge?
Water that is recharged is carried by piping to acres of
contained land. This allows percolation to occur. The soil
between the ground and the aquifer is one of mother nature's
natural treatment processes, so the water undergoes additional
treatment prior to entering the groundwater supply. Not all
groundwater wells are used for drinking water; many are used for
crop irrigation, golf course irrigation, and urban lakes.
Recharge is an integral part of the City of Mesa's 100-year
water supply requirement for continued development. The City
must have enough water to provide to our residents for a
100-year period. In order to accomplish the 100-year
requirement, we must have enough water stored underground, and a
part of that storage is accomplished through recharge.
How does recharge benefit me?
The same drinking water supply has been on this earth for
millions of years. Mother nature cleans it by using sand
(filtration), waterfalls (aeration), still ponds
(sedimentation), organisms (bugs that eat pollutants) and
microorganisms (tiny bugs that eat pollutants), and heat
(disinfection). As the population grows, so does the need for
water treatment, hence the birth of the
Act. The City of Mesa is located in the heart of the
desert, where water is a scarce and valuable commodity. The
water that is treated and recharged is used for many purposes,
including landscape and crop irrigation, industrial uses, and
groundwater replenishment, which frees up other sources of water
for drinking and domestic uses. The water that is discharged,
recharged, or reused is regulated by the Federal, State, County,
and Local governments, requiring the City of Mesa to abide by
numerous regulatory requirements, including pollutant limits,
flow restrictions, use limitations, and treatment requirements.
These regulations ensure that the water is clean enough to
benefit the environment and the citizens of the City of Mesa.