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More water woes for New River, Desert Hills

02/07/18

Tara Alatorre
Staff

DESERT HILLS –  Just when New River and Desert Hills thought its water troubles had been temporarily quelled, EPCOR recently announced that the new location for its water standpipe, which will supply residents with approximately 50,000 gallons of drinking water a day, will have to be relocated.

The new location of the standpipe is in the same area as the original site announced in December, but slightly east and set back about 145 feet north of Desert Hills Road.  The new location is closer to Meridian Avenue, which means it is closer to Anthem and that is causing some concern from residents about the truck traffic.

The final layout plans for the new standpipe location should be completed by this week, and on February 22 the Anthem Community Council will vote on whether or not to approve the new location.  Maricopa Department of Transportation and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will then need to approve the new plans before construction can officially begin, according to Troy Day, the Vice President of Arizona Operations at EPCOR.

Day still believes the pipe can be completed in time for the April deadline before the water haulers' permits expire, which would potentially leave many residents in the community high and dry until the standpipe is built and water deliveries could resume.

“That’s our goal but it’s getting tougher and tougher,” Day said.  “We are trying to be palatable to everyone, we have heard comments from Maricopa Department of Transportation, Desert Hills and Anthem now.”

The location change is a setback in the construction, which is unsettling for many residents who rely on water deliveries because their wells have dried up, or they are not connected to a municipal water source. The City of Phoenix already extended the water permits issued to the water haulers from December to April 30, and stated that using dust permits for water deliveries was against code and infringing on the city’s 100-year water plan.

The looming deadline quickly set things into motion, and the original site plans for the standpipe were rapidly drawn up to address the growing concerns from the community.  This resulted in some overlooked issues with the original site Anthem agreed to lease EPCOR. 

Maricopa Department of Transportation determined that the site was inflicting with a right-of-way crossing at Skunk Creek Wash and denied the permit. Also, residents who lived near the original proposed site on Desert Hills Drive and 17th Avenue were voicing concerns about the traffic the standpipe would cause, and its proximity to the neighborhood.

“We are trying to make everyone as happy as possible,” Day said in an interview.

EPCOR estimates that it will provide residents in the area with 50,000 gallons of water per day once the pipe is built, which would bring a minimum of ten trucks a day coming and going from the new station and could be as many as 30 to 60 trucks a day.
According to the agreement, EPCOR will charge a special water-hauling rate of $9.55 per thousand gallons for area residents and is priced to ensure the customers will not be adversely financially impacted, according to a letter submitted by EPCOR to the Arizona Corporation Commission.