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$122M a Big Waste, of Sorts, for Chandler

Work continues at the Ocotillo Water Reclamation Facility in Chandler. A $122M expansion of the plant is underway. Photo credit: Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic

By Chris Coppola for The Arizona Republic

We don’t really give it much thought, and that’s probably a good thing.

After all, who wants to waste time pondering what happens to the stuff we flush down the toilet? As long as it’s gone – and without delay – that’s good enough for most of us.

But not for guys like Charles McDowell. His days are occupied with the water we use to flush, do laundry, wash dishes and shower.

McDowell is the superintendent at Chandler’s Ocotillo Water Reclamation Facility near Price and Queen Creek roads, one of three water-treatment plants the city operates.

In the coming months, the plant, which is set far back from main roads along the Gila River Indian Reservation boundary, will become the focus of one of the city’s most costly and critical infrastructure upgrades – a $122.6M expansion that will increase the amount of wastewater that can funnel through the plant to 15 million gallons a day.

The expanded portion of the plant, which will be built on vacant city land north of the existing plant, will be integrated with the old facility. A new head works — that portion of the plant where massive intake pipes draw raw sewage from a 66-inch-wide, underground sewer line into the plant — also will be constructed. That sewage comes from residents and businesses throughout the city, including Intel, Freescale and other industrial users.

Eventually, further expansions at the Ocotillo site will increase daily capacity there by 20 million gallons per day on top of the 10 handled now, allowing the city to retire the Lone Butte plant, he said.

The expansion project contract was awarded to Sundt-McCarthy, a joint venture of Sundt Construction Inc. and McCarthy Building Companies Inc. Most of the cost, about $110M, will be paid for by fees paid by developers when they bring a project to Chandler, with the remainder coming from voter-approved bonds, Knudson said.

The expansion is expected to be operating in 2017.

Read more at The Arizona Republic

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