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Douglas Wastewater Project moves forward

Posted on January 31, 2017

Douglas Wastewater Project moves forward

The Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) hosted a public meeting to share information and gather community input regarding the Wastewater Collection and Treatment Plant Improvement Project that is currently under development with City of Douglas, Arizona.  

 The proposed project has an estimated cost of more than $16 million and would provide wastewater collection service to Bay Acres Colonia, expand the treatment capacity and upgrade the facility to meet Arizona Best Available Demonstrated Control Technology (BADCT) requirement. 

Residents living in the project area lack wastewater collection services and rely on failing septic tanks, and nonconforming cesspools for wastewater disposal. The proposed project includes the construction of a wastewater collection system that will serve more than 300 existing homes and reduce any health risks that may be associated with exposure to inadequately treated wastewater discharges.  Improvements to the existing wastewater treatment plant in Douglas which will be needed prior to connecting homes in the Bay Acres area are also part of the project scope.  

Douglas Public Works Director and City Engineer Lynn Kartchner explained the project details to more than two dozen local residents during the public meeting held on November 4, 2016 including why the community could no longer use septic tanks, “because you cannot technically get a septic permit for anything else less than two acres which is 10-12 lots in this area.  This project will allow the lots to be actually used.”

In November, the BECC-NADB Board of Directors for BECC and the North American Development Bank (NADB) approved the project. The city of Douglas, Arizona will receive a US$7.5 million Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) grant for the expansion of the existing wastewater treatment plant and construction of a new wastewater collection system for the Bay Acres subdivision, providing first-time access to these services for 342 households and eliminating approximately 96,000 gallons a day (gd) of untreated wastewater. The population benefitted by this project is estimated at more than 17,300 residents.

The wastewater treatment plant portion will be covered by the BEIF which is funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by the NADB. The Bay Acres construction portion will be funded through a US Department of Agriculture Rural Development Grant of $6.8 million.  The City of Douglas has secured a loan of more than $2 million with the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) of Arizona to cover other costs.

To date, this project has received more than $1 million from the Project Development Assistance Program (PDAP) to fund a value engineering study, the preliminary engineering report, environmental information documents and final designs for both the wastewater collection system and wastewater treatment plant.  In addition, the PDAP grant funded water and energy audits, a pre-treatment control toolkit and training session for utility staff.




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