Editor’s Note: EPCOR released the following clarification at 12:55 PM:
Earlier this week, EPCOR notified ADEQ that because the onsite basins were full and current users did not have any additional capacity, some of the effluent would need to be discharged to Queen Creek wash beginning Wednesday, January 9. Permit-required water sampling confirmed that there was no adverse impact to public or environmental health. ADEQ was notified in advance of the discharge.
ADEQ issued a public notice about the discharge on January 11, 2019, consistent with its responsibility to protect public health. However, it is important to note that the effluent was tested prior to ADEQ’s January 11, 2019 news release and met public health requirements for A+ treated effluent. This fully treated water is the same water that is routinely used by golf courses and other public areas. In addition, the release incorrectly stated that this discharge was related to prior sewer overflows. It is not – recent rains caused higher than usual effluent levels.
An “unpermitted discharge of recycled water into Queen Creek in the San Tan Valley area” has prompted the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to issue a Water Quality Advisory. The public is advised to contact with the water in this area.
According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), the Advisory is being issued “because a discharge of recycled water into Queen Creek occurred from the Pecan Water Reclamation Plant. Recycled water is treated but is not required to meet surface water quality standards associated with full or partial body contact and this area of Queen Creek has been previously exposed to sewer overflows. People and animals exposed to water in this environment are at risk of infection from microorganisms associated with human waste.”
ADEQ issues Water Quality Advisory https://t.co/igde5xHkYx
— AzEIN (@AzEIN) January 12, 2019
ADEQ Recommended Actions:
Avoid contact with the water in this area. Do not allow people or pets to drink this water, wade through it or use it for washing. In the event of contact, thoroughly wash with soap and clean water as soon as possible.
Contact a medical professional if you have any questions or show symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.
This advisory will remain in effect until the discharge is stopped. ADEQ will lift the advisory by issuing an additional notice and contacting local officials.
The unpermitted discharge is due to high volume that exceeded the capacity of the Pecan Water Reclamation Plant to treat and process wastewater. The plant is located at 38539 N. Gantzel Rd in San Tan Valley. The high volume may be due to increased residential use from homes occupied normally only during the cooler months and decreased evaporation due to recent cool, wet weather.
EPCOR was appointed by the Arizona Corporation Commission as the interim manager for Johnson Utilities in August 2018. EPCOR is working to manage flows. This discharge may prevent an accidental release of untreated wastewater elsewhere in the system. ADEQ is assessing the discharge.