West Valley View, Avondale, Arizona, Friday, June 15, 2012
From the ground to your glass City’s water constantly monitored
by Rachel Trott staff writer
At any given time there is at least one person on call in Goodyear making sure residents have clean, running water for their morning cup of coffee or daily shower.
employs seven water treatment operators to test and maintain the quality for an average of 6 million gallons of water per day. Goodyear is responsible for processing and delivering water to customers south of Interstate 10. Liberty Utilities (formerly Liberty Water) processes water for customers living in Goodyear north of the interstate.
The process The city’s Public Works Department
standby for a week at a time, so they can’t be more than 30 minutes away and always available to respond to our emergencies.”
Customers in Goodyear may have concerns about their drinking water being contaminated by the Crane Plume.
The plume was created over years of disposal of aerospace equipment and chemicals by Unidymanics Phoenix Inc., now owned by the Crane Co. The city understands the concern and uses a water source deeper than water potentially contaminated by the plume, Postema said. “All our wells are located below a
View photo by Michael Clawson
JERALD POSTEMA, DEPUTY DIRECTOR of Goodyear’s Environmental Services Department, demonstrates how water is sampled for testing at a water filter station June 4. The city’s wells feed into the station, which then cleans and filters the water before sending it out to homes.
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During the hot summer months, Goodyear’s water treatment facilities process up to twice the average amount needed to keep up with customer demand. That’s about 500,000 gallons an hour continually rushing up from one of the city’s 10 wells to customers’ faucets. However, each drop makes a quick pit stop at one of the city’s four water treatment facilities to ensure that it is clean and safe to drink. First, the water is processed through outdoor filters to remove particles such as sand and silt. “They contain five-micron filters. That takes out the small stuff,” said Jerald Postema, deputy director of environmental services. “A typical human hair is about 10 to 100 microns, and the head of a pin is about 10 microns, so we’re talking a lot smaller than that before it even gets inside the facility.” Next, potentially harmful constituents such as arsenic, magnesium and nitrates are removed from the water using reverse-osmosis filtration and treatment processes. The water with undesirable levels of chemicals, materials and constituents is sent to wastewater facilities to be used in irrigation, Postema said. From ground to glass, the entire
journey takes only four to six hours. The water quality is checked an
average of 11 times a day by water operators, as well as by an automated computer system.
[level] of really dense clay material. It acts as an impervious layer to ground water — it won’t allow it through,” he said. “All our wells are located below that. We don’t have any impact on any of our wells, our water is safe and drinkable.” Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency is working with other agencies and entities to monitor and regulate the ongoing clean-up process of the Crane Plume, Postema said. “We take an interest in it and do monitor it, but they’re really the driving agencies in charge.”
Technology, EPA reports The city’s water treatment process is one of the most up-to-date, Postema said.
every millisecond, basically. It’s a continual operation,” Postema said. “If any of this gets out of compliance, we have an alarm that goes off and shuts off the skid.” The facilities continue to run well into the night after the operators go home, he added.
“It automatically dials up each of our operators so we’ll come down here and see what the problem is. We have a person who is always on
“The computer readers test everything
developing remote access via laptops or smart phones for its employees to monitor and control the water treatment process. The city is also setting up one of the newest arsenic treatment processes in the United States. “The oldest plant we have here is only six years old. All of it is new technology. I know that when I started my career, that plant I operated was 100 years old,” Postema said. “We’re on the cutting edge. Whenever we see something new and it’s scientifically proven, we’re right there.” The EPA performs an annual sanitary system review of the technology and plants to ensure the water being processed is safe. “Every year that I’ve been here since 2005 we’ve passed, never had an issue or a violation,” Postema said. According to last year’s sampling report released by the EPA, neither Goodyear nor Liberty Utilities incurred any violations. This year’s EPA sampling report will be published online at www. goodyearaz.gov
as well as in the city’s “In Focus” magazine.
Rachel Trott can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or on Twitter @byracheltrott.
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