• Renovating Sewage Effluent by Ground-Water Recharge

      Bouwer, Herman; Lance, J. C.; Rice, R. C.; U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phoenix, Arizona 85040 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      Sewage effluent is commonly used for the irrigation of crops that are not consumed raw. Due to continued population growth in the Salt River Valley, Arizona, economic reuse of municipal waste waters is becoming essential. The salt river bed has about 3 ft of fine loamy sand underlain by sand and gravel layers to great depth and a groundwater table at about 10 ft depth. These conditions are very favorable for high-rate waste water reclamation by groundwater recharge. The activated sludge plant in phoenix will probably be discharging 250 mgd by the year 2000. At 4.5 ft average annual water use, this could irrigate about 70,000 acres, possibly more than agriculture will need at that time. A sewage effluent renovation pilot project was located about 1.5 miles from the plant. It contains 6 parallel recharge basins 20 to 700 ft each, spaced 20 ft apart. The basins were covered by grass, gravel or were left bare. Observation wells were installed at various locations in the area. Results indicated that infiltration rates were fastest in the grassy basins. Phosphate, nitrogen and median fecal coliform levels were all lower after this form of tertiary treatment. Practical details of the application of this water reclamation method in the Salt River Valley are outlined. Costs would be 5 dollars/af, less than 1/10 the equivalent costs of in-plant tertiary treatments.