Tue, Feb

Riverfront Water Reclamation Facility up and running

When plans for a water reclamation facility were still in their developmental stages, some Cottonwood City officials still had black hair — some had hair, said Cottonwood City Manager Doug Bartosh as he addressed the public during an open house of the now up and running Riverfront Reclamation Facility.
“This facility represents the future of water in the Verde Valley,” he said.
The edifice is expected to produce 300,000 gallons of water per day, reclaiming 70 percent of Cottonwood’s wastewater. The Cottonwood Utility Department hosted a public open house on Jan. 24 to answer questions about the complex.
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Headworks take in raw sewage from lift stations and removes solid materials such as towels and plastics in the first stage of water reclamation. The Cottonwood Utility Department hosted a public open house to answer questions about the new Riverfront Water Reclamation Facility on Wednesday, Jan. 24. Nearly 300,000 gallons of wastewater daily is expected to be reclaimed at the facility. (Kelcie Grega/Larson Newspapers)

The nearly $12.2 million project was funded by reserves the city had already set aside. Solar panels provide 80 percent of the complex’s power.

During reclamation, wastewater is treated through a biological process and although not drinkable, it can be used for irrigation, viticulture, dust control and more. The plan did not come without its share of controversies, however.
One of the major concerns leading up to the opening of the complex was the injection well’s proximity to a floodplain. Over the summer, a well at Riverfront Park had to be abandoned because there was too much water underground for it to work.
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Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski holds his daughter as he addresses Cottonwood citizens at the new Riverfront Water Reclamation Facility. (Kelcie Grega/Larson Newspapers)
The most recent well was completed in December near the Kids Park, but the concern of flooding was still in the conversation. Bartosh said the city took a special effort to address those concerns.
“This facility is actually built about five feet above the 100-year floodplain,” he said. “If we have a significant flood, this will probably be the only building standing in the entire town.”
Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski said the facility would put Cottonwood on the map of sustainability.
“This was brought by a team of driven people,” he said, mentioning former Cottonwood Mayor Diane Jones, who played a significant role in the original vision. “I’m proud to have this in our city.”
Cottonwood Utilities Department employee Trever Eliott gave tours and answered questions during the open house of the complex. He said that ultimately, the city would prosper as a result of the water reclamation process and that he is looking forward to preserving the rivers.
“The Verde Valley is supposed to be green,” he said. “I used to swim in the rivers as a kid. If we can make it better for kids in the future, that’s what matters.”
Kelcie Grega can be reached at 634-8551, or email kgrega@larsonnewspapers.com

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