Phoenix official explains wastewater recycling plan: ‘It’s just water’

Apr 14, 2023, 12:00 PM

(Pixabay Photo)...

(Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — A plan to recycle wastewater in Phoenix would produce drinking water that meets higher standards than the current supply, a city official said Thursday.

“Most of the people that we have that taste this technology, their biggest comment is, ‘Oh, it tastes like water,'” Water Services Director Troy Hayes told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show.

“And we said, ‘Of course, because that’s what it is.’ It’s just water.”

Last week, the Phoenix City Council approved an ordinance to collaborate with other cities on an advanced water purification facility for recycling wastewater.

“By augmenting our existing 91st Avenue regional facility with advanced treatment technology, we will recycle around 60 million gallons per day upon completion,” Mayor Kate Gallego said Wednesday during her State of the City address.

“Estimated to be a multibillion-dollar investment, I’m proud that Phoenix is driving effective, pragmatic solutions with proven technology.”

Hayes said the plan would use wastewater that’s currently processed for release into the Salt River and put it through additional treatment similar to “what you would see out of the bottled water industry” before providing it to municipal customers.

“You’re talking about ultra filtration, you’re talking about reverse osmosis, you’re talking about granular-activated carbon, ozone, UV, all these treatment processes,” he said.

Hayes said similar projects are in the works in Texas and California.

“The technology has been around for a while. … It’s becoming more efficient, more scalable, more cost effective,” he said.

Hayes said securing Phoenix’s water supply is an ongoing, long-term task.

“We’re concerned about the issues on the Colorado River system. We’re concerned that those are going to continue on for years to come,” he said.

“And so we’re leaving no stone unturned as we look for additional water sources. And this is just one of them.”

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Phoenix official explains wastewater recycling plan: ‘It’s just water’