Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant: Reclaiming Sewage for Other Uses

Fascinating tour today of the Greenfield Water Reclamation Plant, which serves Mesa, Gilbert and Queen Creek.

This was something I know practically nothing about so it was quite interesting and, thankfully, not offensive to the nose!

The facility is located at 4400 S. Greenfield Road in Gilbert.
The $150-million facility is located at 4400 S. Greenfield Road in Gilbert.

What is wastewater? “Commonly known as sewage, wastewater is the water that goes down the drain from sinks, bathtubs, floor drains, toilets, and various piping located in homes and businesses throughout the City of Mesa. Wastewater travels for miles through an array of various sized pipes, known as the wastewater or sewer collection system, located in the ground, typically under roads” (from the website).

Bacteria is the No. 1 agent in cleaning the water. Here Mike shows up the area when the little bugs do their job!
Bacteria is the No. 1 agent in cleaning the water. Here Mike shows up the area when the little bugs do their job!

Did you know? The wastewater treatment process is an accelerated form of nature’s treatment process. At the facility alone about 12 million gallons go through the process from start to finish every day!

Under this area of the facility is about 10 million gallons of water.
Under this area of the facility are 10 million gallons of water where bacteria are munching away.
This plant is just one of three wastewater treatment facilities serving Mesa.
This plant is just one of three wastewater treatment facilities serving Mesa.
Surprisingly few employees man the automated plant.
Surprisingly few employees man the automated plant.
I really was hoping I wouldn't see or hear the word
I really was hoping I wouldn’t see or hear the word “sludge” any more today!
Guess what they find a lot in the
Guess what they find a lot in the “sludge”? Plastic toys!
The facility is enormous and has room to grow.
The facility is enormous and has room to grow.
One of the last processes involves UF rays.
One of the last processes involves UV rays.

Care to learn about the entire water treatment process? Go to http://mesaaz.gov/residents/water-resources/services/water-treatment-process

I think he may have just warned us not to fall in!
I think he may have just warned us not to fall in!
What's leftover from the cleansing process is loaded into trucks here and taken to the land fill.
What’s leftover from the cleansing process is loaded into trucks here and taken to the landfill. Mike said this area often gets pretty messy!
IMG_4180
Mike showing us the “Common Activated Sludge Microorganisms Chart.” Wow, maybe I liked it better when I didn’t know anything about this!

So what is the “reclamed” water used for? Mesa’s three wastewater treatment facilities reclaim the water for reuse on golf courses, crop irrigation, greenbelt irrigation and for recharge (underground water storage).  By reusing the water, the City of Mesa conserves on the consumption of fresh water that can be used in our drinking water system (from the website).

We were also told the water from the Gilbert plant benefits the Gila River Indian Community.

Some of the gases from the
Some of the gases from the “digestion” chamber are expelled and burned off. ‘Nuff said!

For more information on Mesa’s water reclamation, go to: http://mesaaz.gov/residents/water-resources/services/wastewater-treatment-reclamation

Members of the Mesa Leadership class who attended this tour.
Members of the Mesa Leadership class who attended this tour.
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