Friday, July 20, 2012

AOP Facility Groundbreaking

Tucson Water officials and special guests broke ground this morning on
an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) water treatment facility. The new
facility will remove 1,4-dioxane from the groundwater in the Tucson
Airport Remediation Project (TARP) well field in southwest Tucson. The
AOP treatment facility will cost approximately $15 million to
construct and will be a part of the TARP facility near Irvington Road west of
I-19. Completion of the new facility is expected by fall 2013. The
cost to construct the AOP facility is included in Tucson Water’s long range
capital plan.
New Tucson Water Director Alan Forrest hosted the groundbreaking
ceremony, which included Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, City
Council Member Richard Fimbres (Ward 5), Tucson City Manager, Richard Miranda,
and Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias (District 5).
“This facility is an important investment in our community’s water
quality and reliability,” said Mayor Rothschild. “Tucson Water’s
commitment to customers to make sure we have enough quality water for
today and the future is a strategic approach that we fully support.”
1,4-Dioxane was used as a stabilizer in industrial solvents in
aircraft manufacturing facilities from the 1940s to the 1970s and has been
found in groundwater at the TARP well field. The TARP facility has been in
operation since 1994, and was designed to remove another compound,
Trichloroethylene (TCE). The TARP facility was not designed to remove
1,4-dioxane. The 4500 square-foot AOP Facility will be constructed
adjacent to the TARP Plant.
AOP is a cost effective and leading technology that combines hydrogen
peroxide with ultraviolet (UV) light to create a strong oxidant that
removes 1,4-dioxane and other contaminants from water. Using the new
AOP treatment facility and the existing TARP treatment plant, Tucson Water
will purify 8 million gallons of water daily.
The AOP treatment facility is a pro-active approach on behalf of the
City of Tucson and Tucson Water to respond to the Environmental
Protection Agency’s (EPA) health advisory levels. The EPA does not
currently regulate 1,4-dioxane but does issue advisories as guidelines
for water utilities. In January, 2011, the EPA issued a new drinking
water health advisory for 1,4-dioxane of 0.35 parts per billion
-significantly lower than the most recent advisory level of 3 parts
per billion.
Tucson Water Director Forrest pointed out that the water produced now
from the TARP facility meets all federal drinking water standards and
is safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing. However, the current method
of blending water from uncontaminated sources with water from the TARP
plant is not sustainable over the long term, thus the need for the new
AOP facility. Tucson Water regularly takes samples at a number of
sites in the area where water from the TARP facility is delivered to ensure
complete safety.