Reclaimed water essential to Chandler’s growth - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Reclaimed water essential to Chandler’s growth

September 5th, 2019 development
Reclaimed water essential to Chandler’s growth

By the City of Chandler

As Chandler continues to add residents, attract new businesses and expand its economic base, water remains the lifeblood of the community.

Our oasis in the Sonoran Desert cannot thrive if our water resources are taken for granted.

Thankfully, City leaders in recent decades had the foresight and the will to invest in the necessary infrastructure needed to protect our current and future water supplies. This is especially true of Chandler’s vital reclaimed water system that helps conserve water by recycling it.

Generally, more than 50 percent of Chandler water is used outdoors for landscaping, while the rest is used inside homes and businesses. Once water is applied to a landscape it is not recoverable.

However, the water that is used and then goes down the drain as wastewater can be captured, treated and recycled to be used again for certain purposes.

“Here in Chandler we have a saying, ‘use every drop we can twice,’ which we apply to our reclaimed water supply,” said Gregg Capps, water resources manager for the city.

“After the wastewater leaves homes and businesses, it is piped to the City’s three wastewater reclamation facilities, where it is treated through a highly advanced process to remove a wide range of contaminants.”

Tests show that reclaimed water is much cleaner than the water found in many rivers and canals.

That reclaimed water is then delivered back into the community, where it is used for agriculture irrigation, green space landscaping irrigation, golf course irrigation, industrial water reuse and aquifer recharge.

“Many communities discharge their wastewater outside their city. We can’t afford to do that,” Capps said. “Having a supply of reclaimed water helps to reduce the demands on our groundwater use, and saves our drinking water supply, so we don’t have to use it for irrigation purposes on grass and landscaping. It is one of the most significant water conservation tools available to us.”

Capps credits city staff and leaders in the 1980s for having the vision to start Chandler on the path that has built what he believes is one of the most extensive reclaimed water reuse programs in the state.

Before the 80s, much of South Chandler consisted of dairies and farms.

Then, Intel arrived in Chandler along with other high-tech companies and a housing boom followed, spurred by the region’s rapid growth.

When a group of developers wanted to build out the Ocotillo neighborhood and surrounding areas, they asked the city for the needed water, but the supply just wasn’t there. To encourage development without depleting the city’s precious potable water supply, the reclaimed water system was born.

What makes Chandler’s reclaimed water system truly innovative is the way it’s set up in the city code. Chandler has required developments in areas where reclaimed water is accessible (i.e. South Chandler) to install the necessary “purple pipes” that connect to the reclaimed water supply.

Because Chandler had the foresight to require developers to install reclaimed pipes before they build, the system was able to grow without costly digging or renovations down the road.

Today, Chandler’s city code still requires any development that will include a common area of more than 5 acres and that has access to the reclaimed system to use reclaimed water for approved purposes, such as irrigation, turf management, landscaping and more.

In addition to water conservation, using less expensive reclaimed water also saves money. HOAs that convert to using reclaimed water are saving thousands of dollars annually.

There are currently more than 93 miles of purple pipe delivering reclaimed water to South Chandler neighborhoods, businesses and aquifer recharge wells.

Look for the purple valve boxes, sprinkler heads and signs to know you’re in an area making good use of our precious resource.

Without our wastewater treatment system and reclaimed water system, Chandler would not have the rich quality of life and strong economic development that we have today.

The city’s long-term investments in infrastructure, diverse water supplies, water storage and conservation programs are helping to ensure that water continues to flow where it is needed in the community.

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