The Northern Gila County Sanitary District will have its $1.15 million headworks facility completed within the next few weeks.
The district administration and staff are waiting for training on the new equipment and a “shakedown” run.
The project replaces 28-year-old equipment with more advanced technology. The upgrade will also increase the water reclamation facility’s capacity and help the district comply with new rules and regulations of various government.
In addition to the headworks facility, the contract will upgrade the monitoring and control systems for the entire treatment facility.
The contract for the project was awarded in September of 2011 to City Wide Contracting of Phoenix, Ariz.
Currently, the plant has the capacity to handle 2.7 million gallons of wastewater, said Joel Goode, district manager. When it is at 80 percent of that capacity, state and federal regulations require the district to expand its capacity to at least 3.5 million gallons.
The board also approved a solar panel project to save on an electric bill of $15,000 to $16,000 per month.
The NGCSD board is turning part of its 16-acre facility into a solar farm.
About nine months ago the board brought in PV Concepts and Tioga Energy to help develop the project.
If things go according to plan, the solar cells, such as those in the parking lots at Payson Unified School District facilities, will be in operation by the end of the year.
The board learned of one possible snag at its Aug. 8 meeting. The Arizona Corporation Commission essentially changed the rules on solar power programs when it approved a rate request increase for APS. The change will make the solar power exchange with the utility not as cost effective as it would have been had things stayed as they were when the district first planned the project.
Aaron Von Boer and Tom Harris, representatives from PV Concepts and Tioga Energy, made the presentation to the board. They said the corporation commission change could reduce the district’s savings by as much as a 66 percent.
Von Boer said his company is trying to make the project work in spite of these unforeseen obstacles. He explained changes in the engineering and construction that could make a difference and yield close to the originally projected savings.
Board member LaRon Garrett asked if it was still possible to get the project operational by the end of the year.
“It might be hard, but we’re still trying to hit the target date or close to it. It depends on the contractor and lender,” Von Boer said.
Harris told the board it may need to take action on possible changes at its next meeting, Thursday, Sept. 13.