Pima Association of Governments is the Designated Planning Agency under Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act and, as such, is responsible for regional wastewater treatment planning throughout Pima County, excluding tribal lands.
PAG maintains and updates the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan (208 Plan) for the region. Under state and federal regulations, all new or significantly changed wastewater treatment facilities must gain consistency with the 208 before permits may be issued. PAG’s 208 amendment process is outlined in the 208 plan, which was approved by the Regional Council in March 2006. If a facility is not consistent with the plan, an amendment must be approved before the facility can be permitted by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
PAG conducts regional wastewater planning in coordination with the region’s three designated management agencies (DMA) are responsible for ensuring that wastewater service is provided in their management areas.
Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department designs, manages and maintains the sanitary sewer system in Pima County, including the conveyance system and treatment system. The Treatment Division operates and maintains the treatment facilities that receive, treat, and dispose of over 62 million gallons per day (MGD) of sanitary sewage. Two major facilities handle sewage from the metropolitan Tucson area, and seven facilities serve remote areas scattered throughout several areas of eastern Pima County.
In 2009, Pima County gained approval for a 208 amendment to ensure that it can meet near-term future effluent water quality standards as established by ADEQ. As of January 8, 2014 the last flows to the Roger Road WRF were diverted from the old plant to the new facility, Agua Nueva WRF. Since December 16, 2013, the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (RWRD) has been diverting flows from the Roger Road WRF to the Agua Nueva Water Reclamation Facility (WRF). The Agua Nueva WRF is a new state-of-the-art water reclamation facility that will allow Pima County to meet new strict environmental standards for effluent discharges into the Santa Cruz River. The Tres Rios WRF has a current capacity of 25 MGD. Work to increase the facility's capacity to 37.5 MGD is underway; construction began in January 1998. The total two-plant capacity of 82 MGD serves the county’s municipal treatment needs through the 2030 planning horizon.
Town of Sahuarita
The Town of Sahuarita became a Designated Management Agency in 1999. The DMA was revised in consultation with PAG, the Town and Pima County with the March 2006 Areawide Water Quality Management Plan (208 Plan). Because some areas near Sahuarita could be served in the future by either the Town or Pima County, the March 2006 208 Plan designated Joint Planning Areas around the Town’s DMA. These areas are not officially assigned to either DMA at this time. Instead, Pima County and the Town of Sahuarita will work together to decide who will serve these areas when the need for service arises.
The Town currently operates the Sahuarita Water Reclamation Facility. In February 2014, ADEQ issued a significant amendment to the aquifer protection permit authorizing the Town to operate the facility at a maximum monthly flow of 3.0 mgd upon completion of phased improvements. The current physical capacity of the facility is 1.50 mgd.
Planning for wastewater service in other areas within the Sahuarita DMA are ongoing.
Town of Marana
In 2014, the Town of Marana became a Designated Management Agency and now provides wastewater service in the boundary area agreed upon by Pima County and the Town of Marana. On April 25, 2013, PAG's Regional Council directed PAG convene the Scope of Work Task Force. The PAG Regional Council approved the amendment to PAG’s Water Quality Management Plan on September 25, 2013, and the Statewide Water Quality Management Working Group forwarded a positive recommendation to ADEQ on Oct. 8, 2013. The final certification letter from ADEQ was signed on March 27, 2014.
The Marana Water Reclamation division provides design, management, and operations and maintenance of the North Marana sanitary sewer system. This includes the conveyance and treatment systems for over 48 miles of sewer, and two water reclamation facilities. Marana assumed management of the wastewater system in the northern part of the town in January of 2012, acquiring the plant and its collection lines from Pima County in April of 2013. The town paid Pima County for the facility northwest of Luckett and Marana roads. The 208 Amendment enabled the Town to become a Designated Management Agency (DMA) and to provide wastewater service in the areas tributary to the Lucket Road and Rillito Vista Water Reclamation Facilities.