Water Reclamation/Wastewater Treatment

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 roads.  

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 treatment plantThe 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 Granite 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.

treatment plantThe 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 Clean Water 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.