Apache Junction water district board approves $452,000 in equipment, coating

The Superstition Area Water Plant at 4850 S. Ironwood Drive in Apache Junction. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

An emergency power generator, protective coating for inside a one-million-gallon tank and water pre-treatment equipment costing more than $452,000 were recently approved for a district providing water to 8 square miles of Apache Junction.

Apache Junction City Council members, serving as the Apache Junction Water Utilities Community Facilities District board, voted 7-0 Sept. 18 to approve the purchases. They were:

  • $133,262.64 for a sole-source purchase for Loftin Equipment Co. to install an emergency Kohler Power Systems outdoor diesel generator at booster station No. 2, 575 E. Baseline Ave.
  • $142,480 for a sole-source purchase from Evoqua Water Technologies to install a Millennium III T25-Auto chlorine dioxide generator at the Superstition Area Water Plant at 4850 S. Ironwood Drive.
  • $147,246.78 (including 10 percent for contingencies) for a construction contract with Revolution Industrial LLC for coating a failed interior coating at booster station No. 2, a one-million-gallon tank at 575 E. Baseline Ave.

Power generator

The emergency backup-power generator is needed because the site at 575 E. Baseline Ave. is inoperable during power outages, according to Water District Director Frank Blanco.

“It’s a critical site. It has 100 percent of our (supervisory control and data acquisition) communications system located at this facility and 50 percent of our water storage is at this site and about 25 percent of the production capacity,” he said.

The generator could last 15-20 years with regular maintenance, Mike Loggins, water district engineer, said.

“We do annual maintenance on them each year and we test it to make sure that they provide the correct current that we need to provide power to our boosters and our wells,” he said.

As part of the maintenance, an internal computer is turned on weekly to make sure it works, he said.

“Is it similar to what hospitals and grocery stores have?” Chairman Jeff Serdy asked.

“Correct,” Mr. Loggins said.

He recalled a 12-hour power outage five years ago.

“Typically when that happens, everybody is calling for generators across the Valley at that time, so nobody has them, so that’s why we keep them on-site,” Mr. Loggins said.

“This is really for our monsoon season when we’re out typically two hours,” he said.

It has a fuel tank that lasts 24 hours before it needs to be refilled, he said.

“We could last a week or two weeks on these generators and, currently, we have them on every site except this one,” Mr. Loggins said.

Water pre-treatment

The board also approved a chlorine-dioxide generator, which is needed at the surface-water treatment plant at 4850 S. Ironwood Drive, Mr. Blanco said. It treats water from the Central Arizona Project canal.

“This is a very specialized piece of equipment,” Mr. Blanco said.

Chlorine-dioxide is a powerful disinfectant and oxidizing agent that will reduce total trihalomethanes, he said.

Total trihalomethanes are volatile organic compounds that form when disinfectants react with natural organic matter in the water. People who drink water containing excessive total trihalomethanes over many years may experience problems with their liver, kidneys or central nervous system and could have an increased risk for cancer, according to a 2017 water district release.

A testing site at Hondo Avenue and Cactus Road in Apache Junction showed the level of total trihalomethanes averaged 85.2 parts per billion over the year ending in July 2017. The maximum level for total trihalomethanes is 80 parts per billion, according to a water district release at the time. The water was safe to drink, officials said.

The chlorine-dioxide generator system pre-treats the water and also controls taste and odor, Mr. Blanco said.
“We have less total trihalomethanes after the treatment process,” he said.

“This is going to help us stay below that 80 parts per billion. We did have an exceedance in July 2017,” Mr. Blanco said.

Water-tank coating

The coating is needed on the one-million-gallon tank at 575 E. Baseline Ave. because it is rusting above the water line, Mr. Loggins said.

“About a month ago we noticed rust coming out of the top of our newly coated tank of about four years ago,” he said.
It was taken out of service and the water drained, he said.

“We have some kind of corrosion issue going on inside the tank,” he said.

The coating was to last 10-15 years but may be failing because of chlorine gases. The district plans to add fresh air into the tank with an air-induction system, Mr. Loggins said.

Water district board members approved each of the three items in separate votes. Voting “yes” were Chairman Serdy, Vice Chairman Chip Wilson and members Jeff Struble, Gail Evans, Ms. Rizzi, Dave Waldron and Robin Barker.

The water district, formed by the city of Apache Junction on Aug. 2, 1994, is responsible for providing water service for approximately 8 square miles, which accounts for more than one-third of the city of Apache Junction. The remaining area is served by Arizona Water Co.

The water district supplies well water – groundwater – pumped from the Eastern Salt River Sub-Basin Aquifer, which flows southwesterly under Apache Junction and its surrounding areas. The groundwater is treated for arsenic removal where necessary, disinfected with chlorine, pumped into storage tanks and blended with Colorado River water transported through the CAP canal system, according to the district’s website, ajwaterdistrict.org.

Water district board meetings are generally held at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month at the council chambers, 300 E. Superstition Blvd.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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