After a wet winter, the Mazatzal Rest Area at the intersection of Highway 87 and 188 will not be reopened until the sewage system dries out, which could be within two weeks.
ADOT spokesperson Bill Williams reports the sewage system at the rest area, known as an evapotranspiration system, which uses four ponds or beds to dry effluent waste, is very old and cannot be used until it completely dries out.
“The evapotranspiration beds are old technology used in a few rest areas in the ADOT system. It is not rare for such a closure, rather the beds require temporary closures quite often,” Williams said.
“The wet winter has once again caused a lot of moisture in that sewage system and we have to wait until warmer, drier weather before the system dries out enough to use,” he said.
Ron Eaton, utility supervisor with Arizona Engineering Company, which monitors all of the rest areas in Arizona for ADOT, said the waste system at Mazatzal became overwhelmed and could not handle anymore waste with the wet weather.
“In that winter climate they don’t work very well and the plant growth dies,” Eaton said. “We have been monitoring the beds since it was shut down in December.”
Waste from the system first goes into a septic tank system below the service centers. Effluent water from the tanks then flows down to four, quarter-acre beds immediately adjacent to the service center where a majority of the water evaporates.
Depending on the weather, Eaton said the rest area could be reopened within two weeks.
“Weather is the big unknown,” Eaton said. “We don’t w