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Aug. 1, 2017

Challenging water utility projects win Project of Year awards

Two major construction projects involving Chandler’s wastewater and reclaimed water systems have been recognized as Projects of the Year by the Arizona Water Association (AZ Water).

AZ Water is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1928 and has 2,200 members. They are dedicated to preserving and enhancing Arizona's water environment.

The $4.6 million expansion of a well field near Queen Creek and Old Price roads that stores reclaimed water (effluent) in the ground and retrieves it from the same location during times of high demand was the 2017 Water Reuse Project of the Year. 

The $1.7 million rehabilitation of an underground sewer lift station in north Chandler that pumps wastewater from a low area of the collection system to a higher elevation to allow it to continue on its way to a wastewater treatment plant was AZ Water’s 2017 Wastewater System Project of the Year.

"Our residents expect Chandler to provide reliable, affordable and efficient water and wastewater services," said John Knudson, Municipal Utilities Director. "This recognition from AZ Water acknowledges the great work of our employees and the engineering design firms and contractors that help us fulfill these expectations."

The well expansion project helped increase the recharge capacity of the Ocotillo Recharge Facility (ORF) from 10 million gallons per day (mgd) to 20 mgd by drilling and equipping four new Aquifer Storage and Recovery wells (ASR).

Like other wells at this location, the new ASR wells are capable of reversing direction and recovering the stored effluent for reuse as irrigation for landscaping, golf courses, etc. This type of well allows the City to store water in the ground and retrieve it from the same location during times of high demand, typically during the summer months.

Among the most challenging aspects of the 16-month-long project was the construction of a complex piping and valve system that would provide flexibility of operation, isolation of wells and independent purging.

Wilson Engineers LLC, designed the improvements and PCL Construction performed the work. The expansion project makes the ORF the single largest recharge facility in Arizona utilizing ASR well technology.
The sewer lift station project involved the complex rehabilitation of the Manganaro Sewer Lift Station located on the southeast corner of Ray Road and the Loop 101/Price Freeway.

The lift station was built in 1998 and moves wastewater through pipes from a lower elevation to a higher elevation. The rehab project took six months to complete and included repair of the lift station’s wet well and two adjacent sewer manholes, plus replacement of the existing wet well piping and installation of a new flow meter. 

Complicating the repair work was the confined work area and the need to keep the facility in operation during construction. It also was important to keep sewer odors to a minimum, as the facility is located adjacent to a shopping center with numerous businesses.

“Rehabilitating a sewer lift station while keeping it in operation is like changing a tire on a moving vehicle,” said Chandler spokesperson Jim Phipps. “And to do all of this sewer work near a bank, grocery store, restaurants and other businesses without a single odor complaint was truly remarkable.”

The contractor and City staff developed a number of innovative ways to perform the work, including the construction of a basket assembly that allowed workers and inspectors to be lowered into the 45-foot-deep lift station safely.

Wilson Engineers LLC, designed the improvements and Archer Western Contractors Ltd, did the construction.