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  • Pima County helps City of Boise launch pure water campaign

    Aug 31, 2018 | Read More News
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    AZ Pure Water truckThe Arizona Pure Water Brew Challenge may have ended in 2017, but Pima County’s desire to change public perception on recycled water and develop a sustainable water source worldwide continues. The AZ Pure Water team traveled to Idaho Aug. 26-31 to help the City of Boise launch its own pure water campaign.  

    “The leadership and partnership from Pima County is what made this event possible for the City of Boise,” said City of Boise Environmental Manager Haley Falconer. “Seeing Pima County’s success in changing perceptions about purified water, we were inspired to try something similar in our community. We knew that a Pure Water Brew demonstration could help the overall messaging of how we can use water locally.”

    The City of Boise and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality wanted to show residents that with the proper technology, municipally treated reuse water could meet drinking water standards. To do this, they solicited expertise from the AZ Pure Water team, led by the Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, and enlisted the use of their mobile purification facility.

    “My favorite part of this project has always been the collaborative process of communities and utilities working together and building off one another’s experiences,” said RWRD Deputy Director Jeff Prevatt. “These interactions and partnerships will continue to benefit our industry for years to come.”

    Pure water production gets underway

    The AZ Pure Water team arrived at the Lander Street Water Renewal Facility in Boise greeted by the familiar sight of its mobile purification truck and an enthusiastic Boise Public Works team eager for the week ahead. 

    With no time to waste, all hands were on deck setting up the mobile purification truck, preparing for water production and training on the go. As the AZ team tested the equipment, Boise operators observed and familiarized themselves with the operation, which by the next day would be theirs to run. 
    water sampling
    “This has been a pretty intense project and we’ve done it in a very fast time frame,” said City of Boise’s Process Coordinator Ron Gearhart, who was instrumental to organizing the project and managing the logistics and operation of the mobile water treatment facility. 

    Securing the permit for direct potable reuse and getting the AZ Pure Water team in town was half the battle, but Boise still had a daunting task ahead. In a span of three days, they had to produce about 3,000 gallons of water, perform all the required testing and kick-off their Pure Water Brew Boise campaign. 

    Prevatt and Dean Moulis, RWRD’s water treatment operator, assisted Gearhart’s team with the logistics. Meanwhile, Barbara Escobar, RWRD’s compliance and regulatory affairs manager, helped with the sampling and Christina Morrison with the University of Arizona performed all virus removal documentation of the system.

    With Pima County’s help, production went smoothly and the team finished ahead of schedule.

    “The project would not have been possible without Pima County’s support,” Gearhart said. “The system they provided is one of the most unique I’ve seen.”

    Pure Water Brew Boise debut

    By mid-week, the team had taken all its water samples, purified the water needed for the Pure Water Brew Boise campaign and completed the water deliveries to local partners. 

    Similar to the AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge, Boise decided to partner with local breweries to showcase the water and convey the recycled water message.

    “We selected breweries that showed a true commitment to sustainability and were very enthusiastic about this project and what this could mean long-term,” Falconer said. 

    Participants included Barbarian Brewing, Lost Grove Brewing, Mad Swede Brewing and Longdrop Cider.

    Jerry Larson, who owns Mad Swede Brewing, said the Pure Water Brew Boise project fit right into his business plan, which involves being aware of water consumption.
    Three cheers to purified water
    “Boise is growing by leaps and bounds, which is putting more pressure on water resources,” he said. “It’s incumbent on us as water consumers to be cognizant of what we do with that water and how much we consume.”

    A kickoff event held Aug. 30 formally unveiled the project to dozens of Boise community members, who showed up to learn more about this innovative concept, the water-making process and the City's commitment toward environmental stewardship. 

    During the event, Public Works Director Stephan Burgos thanked Pima County for its collaboration. 

    "Pima County Arizona – these folks are true pioneers. They're not just national leaders, they're global leaders on trying to redefine water and how we view it," he said. "They've been here all week helping us set this up and giving us access to the technology."

    The City of Boise envisions this as the beginning of Pure Water Brew. Next steps include joining the Pure Water Brewing Alliance, connecting with other regional leaders, including Pima County and Clean Water Services, and planning the next steps for purified water production.

    "With the excitement from the city, the brewers and the community, this is something that will last into the future," Falconer said.

    A win for everyone

    Jeff gives presentationThough the AZ Pure Water team spent a majority of its time assisting the Boise production, the trip proved successful for Pima County and the City of Boise on other fronts, too. 

    During the week, Prevatt gave presentations on the multi-barrier advanced water purification process and the Arizona experience at two Boise wastewater facilities. Given his expertise, Boise officials labeled this a learning opportunity and offered employees continuing education credits for attending. 

    “We’re always looking for ways to bring new information to our staff. Purified water projects in this fashion are new, so this was a way for us to share innovative and inspiring ideas across our organization,” Falconer said.

    Learning wasn’t one-sided, though. The AZ Pure Water team also visited Boise’s wastewater operation facilities, including the Farm, which actually serves as the city’s sustainable solution for land application of biosolids.  

    The city-owned and operated farm uses the plant’s biosolids to produce several primary crops, including winter wheat, corn, and alfalfa, which are all used as animal feed. 

    “It’s always beneficial to observe how fellow utilities approach similar challenges. The Farm is quite remarkable, unique and worth exploring for Pima County’s program,” Prevatt said. “Likewise, Boise has first-hand experience with struvite abatement, a process we’re currently implementing at our Tres Rios water reclamation facility that will be operational in 2019. Their experiences will prove extremely beneficial to our design.”

    Next stop for AZ Pure Water

    Leaving Idaho, the AZ Pure Water Brew team and truck will make their way to the 33rd Annual WateReuse Symposium, Sept. 9-12 in Austin, Texas. In the U.S., this is the only conference dedicated solely to advancing the policy, technology, innovation and public acceptance of recycled water. 

    In 2017, AZ Pure Water culminated its brew challenge at this event, where it was also featured as the main attraction. This year, the AZ Pure Water facility also will be on display. In addition, the project is a nominee for the Transformational Innovation award, which is given to organizations that have demonstrated leadership, creativity and persistence in supporting recycled water projects.

    Following the conference, the truck will head to El Paso, where it will be showcased to the community as a sample of what they can expect in the near future. El Paso is currently in the process of implementing the same advanced water purification processes in a full-scale application.

    For more information on water recycling and to see video clips of AZ Pure Water’s partnership with Boise, visit the AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge Facebook page

    Top: The AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge hits the road in Boise.

    Second: Boise's Kate Harris sampling water.

    Third: City of Boise leaders, including Mayor David Bieter, Public Works Director Stephan Burgos and city council members, toast to a successful week.

    Bottom: RWRD Deputy Director Jeff Prevatt gave presentations on the multi-barrier advanced water purification process and the Arizona experience at two Boise wastewater facilities.