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  • Variances to the Design Standards


    In some cases, strict compliance with the current Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department's (PCRWRD) Engineering Design Standards may not be feasible and a variance may be appropriate. In these cases, the Sanitary Engineering Manager of PCRWRD may grant or deny a request for a variance. It is the responsibility of the Sanitary Engineering Manager to administer, coordinate and execute the variance process in coordination with the PCRWRD Development Liaison group.

    A variance may be considered either during the development of the construction documents or during the progress of construction, and limited to any of the following circumstances:
    • Design slopes less than the standard minimums would eliminate the need for a pump station;
    • A substitution for, or change in a standard material, results in the use of a material which can be clearly demonstrated to be of equal or superior quality;
    • A strict adherence to standard specifications would be impractical or impossible because of an existing field conflict; or
    • An emergency situation prohibits strict adherence to preliminary sewer layout requirements or standard specifications.
    For other deviations from the current PCRWRD Engineering Design Standards that do not fit any of these circumstances or for certain design concepts specified in these standards, special approval shall be required and will be made by the Director or his/her delegate.


    Requests for Design Variances

    Requests for design variances shall be submitted through Development Services for administrative processing. The variance request shall be in a letter format and include the following elements:
    • A reference to the specific standard(s) from which a variance is being requested;
    • A detailed explanation of how an extraordinary and unnecessary hardship or unusual topographic or other pre-existing physical condition of the land does not make strict adherence to the specific standard(s) feasible; and
    • Any additional documentation and background information that may be helpful in assessing the request.

    Variance Criteria

    The PCRWRD Sanitary Engineering Manager may approve a variance request if all of the following criteria are met:
    • The variance does not violate State and County regulations;
    • Strict application of the specific standard(s) would create an extraordinary and unnecessary hardship because of unique site conditions. The hardship shall not arise from a condition created by an action of the property owner;
    • The variance request meets the general intent and purpose of the current PCRWRD Engineering Design Standards.
    • The variance will not adversely affect the rights of surrounding property owners and residents;
    • The variance will not compromise safety of the public and O&M staff;
    • The variance will not adversely impact the operation and maintenance of the system.
    The PCRWRD Sanitary Engineering Manager shall not approve a variance request if any of the following conditions apply:
    • Approval would solely increase economic return from the property;
    • Approval would resolve the violation of a construction permit;
    • Approval would resolve a misinterpretation or error in the design; or
    • Approval has not been granted for comparable variances in the past.

    Variance Actions

    The PCRWRD Sanitary Engineering Manager will review the variance request, and will, at his/her sole discretion, approve or deny it. The Sanitary Engineering Manager may include conditions to an approved variance request if they are deemed reasonable and necessary to preserve the integrity of the Public Sewer and to ensure that the general purposes and intent of the current PCRWRD Engineering Design Standards are preserved. The Sanitary Engineering Manager will notify the applicant of the decision within 5 Working Days from the date the variance request was received.

    To submit a design variance request, contact:

    Francisco Galindo, P.E., Civil Engineering Manager
    Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department
    201 N. Stone Ave., 3rd Floor Tucson, AZ 85701
    (520) 724-6733 or email: francisco.galindo@pima.gov
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    Wastewater Reclamation

    Planning & Engineering
    201 N. Stone Ave., 3rd Fl.
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    (520) 724-6500

    Field Engineering
    1313 Mission Rd.
    Tucson, AZ 85713

    (520) 724-2651

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